Dutch Data Watchdog Investigates TikTok for Privacy Concerns

The Netherland’s data watchdog is looking into data privacy issues surrounding TikTok in light of its popularity among Dutch children, said Bloomberg. The Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) is inspecting the child-friendliness of information provided by the app regarding collection and usage.

TikTok, released by ByteDance Ltd., has been widely used around the world, particularly among children. The social media platform has also been mired in privacy-related controversy and has earned the attention of various data watchdogs across the globe.

According to the Dutch regulator, the scrutiny will focus on the privacy settings of the app. DPA chairman Monique Verdier said that they are examining “whether parental consent is required for TikTok to collect, store and use children’s personal data.”

Data Watchdog Privacy Concerns

The watchdog will also be poring over the information given to children by the app. Specifically, the DPA will evaluate if the info is easily understandable by children, as well as whether it “adequately explains how their personal data is collected, processed, and used.”

The Netherlands is part of the European Union, which is known to implement one of the most protective laws when it comes to privacy through the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The law gives authorities the right to charge companies 4% of global annual sales as fine.

The Dutch regulator will be releasing its findings later this year.

A statement sent by TikTok via email said that the company is working with the DPA to ensure the privacy of its users. Moreover, it said that its “top priority is protecting [their] users’ privacy and safety, especially [their] younger users.”

ByteDance, a Beijing-based company, has been suspected by the United States legislators as a potential source of national risk. However, TikTok clarified that it is not under the control of the Chinese government. It also said that user info it collects is in safe hands.

Meanwhile, The Netherlands is not the only country scrutinizing TikTok’s potential risks to children. Colombia has also launched an investigation over privacy concerns that can affect young users’ info including collection, storage, and usage.

The South American country is conducting the investigation in compliance with its 2012 law provision that protects the privacy rights of adolescents and children. The app will undergo an evaluation of whether or not it abides with the country’s regulations and if it uses the right measures to prevent child abuse.