Summary hearing mass claim against TikTok: October 10th, 2022
Here you will find the summary of the first hearing against TikTok on Monday, October 10 in the Amsterdam District Court, written by Cor Wijtvliet (in Dutch), member of the supervisory board of SOMI.
The battle between TikTok and the Foundation for Market Information Research has entered a legal phase. On Monday, October 10th, the two parties met in court in Amsterdam. After all, SOMI has instituted proceedings against TikTok before the Dutch court. TikTok disputes the jurisdiction of the Dutch court to rule in this claim case. Incidentally, not only SOMI has filed a procedure against TikTok, but also the Take Back Your Privacy and Massaschade en Consument foundations.
It is clear to SOMI that TikTok is only trying to delay procedures as much as possible. The company does this to keep the business model afloat for as long as possible. That model consists of unsolicited and illegally harvesting as much data from minors and children as possible. This is a matter of privacy violations on an unprecedented scale.
TikTok's strategy is that of any Big Tech company. The company is located in Dublin, Ireland. Complaints must therefore be submitted to the Irish regulator, which is known to be easy to talk to by Big Tech. This approach is slowing down. That may be obvious. All those delays give a company like TikTok plenty of time to attract more and more users and collect more and more data. The hoped-for result must be that over time TikTok has become too big and too powerful to be effectively regulated.
SOMI believes that TikTok's argument is built on loose sand. The Amsterdam court has previously brushed aside the argumentation followed as a result of proceedings between the Data Privacy Foundation and Facebook. The company's current delaying tactics also make it clear that it is virtually impossible for an individual to enter the fray against a giant like TikTok. The legislator is aware of this and has previously determined that the individual can be represented by an organization such as SOMI.
SOMI cannot but come to the conclusion that not only is TikTok's argumentation empty, but that there is also a need for haste. TikTok invades children's privacy on a large scale. A recent Internet 2.0 survey underscores SOMI's fears! The researchers come to the conclusion that the TikTok application collects personal data for the purpose of collecting, so to speak. There is no justification for this excessive collection frenzy within the GDPR. However, TikTok is asking the judge to stall this procedure until the Irish Regulator finally reaches a ruling on the matter. That can take a long time, just like it can take a long time before TikTok can actually be legally tackled in the Netherlands.
Unfortunately, things take a long time, even if TikTok's delaying tactics fail 100%. You have read that three plaintiffs were present. In addition to SOMI, these were the Take Back Your Privacy Foundation and the Massaschade en Consument Foundation. Once the court has come to the conclusion that the Dutch court has jurisdiction, it must then be determined who will be the Exclusive Representative. That will just take another year and that is a gift for TikTok. Unfortunately!