Bits of Freedom and consumer association Consumentenbond claim that the NPO Start can only be used if users allow extensive tracking of their viewing behaviour and delivery of these data to advertisers, without the possibility to opt out.
This tracking started to take place with the most recent version of the app since late December 2017. Users of the app are required to give their consent. If they do not do so, they will not get access.
The NPO provides a public service and should be freely accessible, according to Bits of Freedom and the Consumemtenbond. Moreover, a supplement to the European Cookie Act does not allow access to a website of a government agency, such as the NPO, to depend on the acceptance of advertisement cookies. Bits of Freedom and the Consumers’ Association are of the opinion that this also applies to the NPO Start app.
This is not the first time NPO has violated the law. In July 2014, the Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens (Dutch Authority for Personal Data Protection) already turned a blind eye to the NPO, because of the website at that time. The latter placed cookies before visitors had agreed to this and without having a choice.
In response, NPO said it is working on the issue. “The adaptation appears to be technically complex. We are working hard to change this and assume that this will be resolved within a few months.” Both Bits of Freedom and Consumentenbond are of the opinion that this takes much too long.
NPO Start is an OTT service offering live streams of the national networks as well as a catch-up and on-demand portal, and is available online and in a variety of apps for smartphones, tablets and smart TVs.
(picture courtesy Consumentenbond)