Thirteen dating websites in France – including several targeted to specific demographics (leftists, food lovers) – received warnings from the French data protection authority, CNIL. According to the CNIL, the sites collected sensitive personal information such as religious convictions, ethnic origin, and political opinions without express consent. The CNIL reminded the websites that express consent could be contained through an unchecked box that indicated that “information about your political opinions, beliefs and religious opinions, sexual orientations and practices are collected as part of your registration on this dating site, and such information constitutes sensitive information” and that the individual “understands this and accepts that this information is processed by this website.” 

Of additional concern to the CNIL was (1) that the sites kept information even if users asked them to delete it, (2) that information about how to access, correct, and remove their details from the site was not provided, and (3) a few sites sought to block certain users without having obtained the (necessary) CNIL approvals. These were warnings by the CNIL, not sanctions; however, the CNIL stated that failure to remediate the problems within three months could result in further action.

TIP: These warnings are a reminder that websites operating in France should keep in mind French online data collection requirements, which include express consent for collection of sensitive data. According to the CNIL, that express consent should be an on-screen, unchecked box.