Dutch data protection authority fines TikTok over privacy

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — (AP) — The Netherlands' Data Protection Authority said Thursday it has fined TikTok 750,000 euros ($885,000) for not offering a privacy statement in Dutch, saying many children who use the popular video sharing app would be unable to understand the information.

The agency said that by not offering a Dutch-language privacy statement, “TikTok failed to provide an adequate explanation of how the app collects, processes and uses personal data.”

It said TikTok has some 3.5 million users in the Netherlands and that Dutch privacy law is “based on the principle that people must always be given a clear idea of what is being done with their personal data.”

The data protection authority said TikTok had “lodged an objection to the fine.”

TikTok said in a statement that its privacy policy and a “shorter and more accessible version for our younger users, available in Dutch since July 2020, has been accepted by the Dutch Data Protection Authority as the solution to this issue.”

It added that it made other changes to safeguard the privacy of minors in the past 18 months, including setting accounts of 13-to-15-year-olds to private by default and only allowing direct messaging for users 16 and over.

Last month, Dutch consumer group Consumentenbond said it was launching a 1.5 billion euro ($1.8 billion) claim against TikTok over what it alleges is unlawful harvesting of personal data from users.

The group and a foundation called Take Back Your Privacy demanded that TikTok pay damages to 1.2 million to 1.6 million Dutch children who use the app.