Wednesday 08 February 2023

Consumer council sues TikTok for €2bn over children’s data

Consumer organisation Consumentenbond and privacy watchdog Take back your privacy (TBYP) are taking popular Chinese video sharing app TikTok to court for illegally collecting children’s private data.

The organisations are demanding €2bn in damages. They accuse TikTok of accumulating sensitive data such as dates of birth, phone numbers and email addresses over several years, as well as sexual preference, religion and even biometric data in order to target children with specific advertising.

Talks with TikTok following earlier claims did not lead to results which left the organisations with no choice other than to put the matter before a judge.

TBYP estimate that children in the Netherlands at 1.5 million have been affected, all of whom will be entitled to a share of any damages awarded.

‘TikTok exploited sometimes very young children in a scandalous way,’ Consumentenbond director Sandra Molenaar said.

‘They were misled, their privacy was invaded and profits were made on the strength of it,’ she said. ‘It’s exploitation pure and simple and it needs to addressed through compensation in such a way as to make other businesses who do the same think again.’

TikTok has always claimed it is doing everything in its power to guarantee the safety of young users. But according to TBYP director Frederieke van der Jagt, TikTok is ‘continuing to sacrifice children’s privacy for profit.’

‘And what makes it worse is that children have been feeling isolated during lockdown and turned to TikTok more than ever,’ she added.

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