Ireland’s data watchdog has launched inquiries into the way that Google and dating app Tinder use customer data amid concerns over user privacy.
The Irish Data Protection Commission said on Tuesday that it had launched probes into the companies after receiving complaints about their data practices.
In two separate inquiries, Google will be investigated over its use of customers’ location data, the regulator said, while Tinder would be investigated over the transparency of how it handles and processes data.
Tinder’s dating app has boomed in popularity as people look to match-make on their smartphones. Its app sees users matched with dates by swiping left to reject, or right to accept, a potential partner.
The regulator said it would look into Tinder’s use of customer data on Tuesday. It claimed that “a number of issues have been identified” with Tinder, which is owned by US firm Match Group, and its use of data following customer complaints about the app.
It said it will now investigate Tinder’s transparency over its use of customer data and its compliance with data laws.
The inquiry into Tinder comes as a committee of the US Congress launched a probe into whether dating apps allowed children to access their services.
The US House Oversight and Reform subcommittee on economic and consumer policy is investigating Bumble, Grindr, The Meet Group and Tinder’s parent company Match Group as part of the probe.
The dating apps have claimed that they use tools to block children from accessing them.
The regulator also launched a separate investigation into Google on Tuesday over its processing of location data from users.
A Google spokesman said: “People should be able to understand and control how companies like Google use location data to provide services to them. We will cooperate fully with the office of the Data Protection Commission in its inquiry, and continue to work closely with regulators and consumer associations across Europe.”
“In the last year, we have made a number of product changes to improve the level of user transparency and control over location data.”
Google has previously faced criticism over its user of customer location data. A 2018 investigation accused the business of tracking the movements of people who use its most popular apps, even when they had disabled location tracking.
A spokesman for the Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK declined to comment when asked if it shares similar concerns to its counterpart in Ireland.
The General Data Protection Regulation allows regulators to issue fines of up to 4pc of a company’s global revenue or €20m (£16.9m), whichever is higher.
A spokesman for Tinder did not respond to a request for comment.