Privacy News Dutch companies also collected tweets and violate privacy law


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Jun 14, 2011
Not just the government, large companies such as ING, Ziggo and DNB also collect thousands of tweets via tools like Coosto and OBI4Wan without informing twitterers about them. Privacy lawyer Floor Terra of Privacy Company reports in a blog post how OBI4Wan lacks transparency about to whom tweets and personal data are sold on.

Previous research by Trouw and AG Connect revealed that the Dutch government, including the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Tax Authority and the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) collect tweets and do not inform users about them. An action that is mandatory under privacy laws because monitoring tweets also processes personal data that sometimes includes name, race, gender and political views.

Terra recently took the test and made an inspection request at two widely used social media monitoring tools: Coosto and OBI4Wan. Among other things, he wanted to know whether his tweets had been collected, to whom his personal data had been provided, and who the customers were to whom the data had been sold. In response, OBI4Wan indicated it had collected tweets from Terra without informing him. The company then refused to provide Terra with information about the companies and organizations to whom the data was eventually sold, according to the blog post.

ING, Ziggo & DNB

Coosto showed considerably more transparency in its access request. After asking Coosto customers for permission, Coosto was able to report to Terra that ING, Ziggo and De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) received tweets from Terra and his personal data. DNB was found to have used the tweets in a survey about a general perception of DNB among millenials on social media.

When asked why the bank had not informed him of this, Terra received an apology from DNB for the lack of "notice" to those involved. ING gave no specific statement about the collected tweets. Ziggo said it would at least look into clarifying its privacy statement.

Coosto asked the AP how they should handle access requests for collected messages in response to the inspection request, but three months after that, the AP has still not responded.
Transparency lacking

In his blog, Terra concludes that people will not worry too much about social network monitoring. However, he does think that monitoring of social media by companies about which there is no transparency is cause for concern.

Translated with DeepL

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