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Candy Crush maker banned from gathering staff ethnic data

© GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File | King, the gaming company that owns Candy Crush, is banned from collecting statistics on the ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientation of employees

STOCKHOLM (AFP) - 

Sweden's data protection agency Thursday banned King, the gaming company that owns Candy Crush, from collecting statistics on the ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientation of employees, even when used for promoting diversity.

The company defended its practice, saying it did not intend to discriminate against anyone and that employees were free to decide whether or not to provide the information to their employer, the agency said.

"The information is collected on an individual level in order to see if, over time, sexual orientation or belonging to a specific ethnic group could have an impact on career opportunities," the agency said, after an investigation.

But Swedish law, which conforms to European Union regulations, bans the collection of this type of information without clearance from authorities, the agency said. In King's case, it would not be justified, it added.

The Swedish regulators also took issue with the company's claim that the information was collected on a voluntary basis, saying "employees are in a relationship of dependency with their employer".

© 2017 AFP