SOMI’s statement regarding the AP’s € 750,000 fine to TikTok

The Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) has imposed a fine of € 750,000 on TikTok for violating the privacy of young children. The information provided by TikTok to Dutch users – many of whom are young children – when installing and using the app was in English and thus not readily understandable. By not offering their privacy statement in Dutch, TikTok failed to provide an adequate explanation of how the app collects, processes and uses personal data. This is an infringement of privacy legislation, which is based on the principle that people must always be given a clear idea of what is being done with their personal data.

SOMI’s statement regarding the AP’s € 750,000 fine to TikTok

In response to the announcement from the Netherlands Privacy Authority (the “Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens” or “AP”) on 22nd July regarding TikTok’s fine for the violation of children’s privacy in The Netherlands:

SOMI respects the AP’s effort in holding TikTok accountable for its unlawful actions. However, we are not convinced that this fine is enough to stop the privacy violation from TikTok or to protect Dutch children from harm on this platform.

The AP fines TikTok for not presenting its privacy policy in Dutch language earlier, which ultimately has only been implemented in July 2020. However, the long list of TikTok’s past and current privacy offenses has indeed been significantly missing from the AP’s statement. How about TikToks’ misleading virtual currency, or the fact that TikTok processes the data of children under the age of 16 without parental consent, to name but two? We understand the AP has handed over its investigation to the Irish Data Protection Authority, but what steps has it been taking now to ensure that children in the Netherlands will meanwhile be safe?

SOMI will continue its fight to ensure the victims of TikTok’s continuous violation of applicable norms will be rightfully compensated for damages incurred, in particular including better tools for age verification and parental control. We congratulate the AP for taking any step against TikTok. However, it remains undisputed that more action is needed to ensure the safety of our children on this platform.