A Dutch foundation is planning to take legal action against social media platform Twitter for illegally collecting and trading in personal details gathered via free apps such as Duolingo and Wordfeud as well as dating apps and weather forecaster Buienradar.
Twitter owned advertising platform MoPub between 2013 and January 2022 and that is where the problem lies, the SDBN foundation says. It estimates 11 million people’s information may have been illegally gathered and sold.
Between 2013 and 2021, MoPub had access to information gleaned via 30,000 free apps on smartphones and tablets, the foundation says. In essence, the foundation says, consumers ‘paid with their privacy’ without giving permission.
‘The nature and scale of this infringement is dizzying: it happened for years and behind the scenes,’ foundation chairwoman Anouk Ruhaak said. ‘As a society, we must show that this is unacceptable and these illegal practices are not allowed to stand. We don’t want to be for sale.’
The foundation is demanding compensation on behalf of the apps’ users and if Twitter refuses to pay, the foundation will start a legal case against the company.
In other cases brought by private individuals the courts have awarded damages of between €250 and €2,500 for privacy infringements, the foundation said. The case is being financed by an underwriter which will get 20% of any compensation awarded by the courts.
Other privacy claims
Several other privacy mass claims are currently underway in the Netherlands, based on Dutch legislation which makes it easier to file such cases here.
Three separate foundations have launched legal cases against Chinese social media group TikTok for infringing privacy regulations.
The most recent of these, launched last December by Stichting Massaschade & Consument, is claiming €6bn from the popular app maker, arguing that the company should respect European privacy laws. It says TikTok illegally harvests data from its 4.5 million Dutch users.
Dutch and British publishers have also launched a €25 billion damages claim against Google, based on what they called the company’s anti-competitive conduct in relation to advertising technology.

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