Dutch Watchdog Sues Adobe Over Mass Collection of Citizen Data

Dutch Watchdog Sues Adobe Over Mass Collection of Citizen Data

Hidden Code, Hidden Profits – Tracked Before You Click – SDBN Takes Adobe to Court Over Alleged Illegal Tracking of Dutch Cizitens.

Dutch privacy watchdog SDBN alleges that Adobe is spying on and collecting data from ‘virtually every Dutch internet user’ through the illegal placement of tracking cookies.

The article was updated with statement provided by Adobe.

Dutch privacy watchdog Stichting Data Bescherming Nederland (SDBN) is suing Adobe for illegally tracking and sharing the personal data of millions of Dutch citizens.

For your information, SDBN is a Netherlands-based non-profit foundation striving to safeguard users’ privacy and data protection. Apart from Adobe, the organization is also actively pursuing lawsuits against Amazon and X (formerly Twitter).

Adobe, a United States-based design software company known for its creativity and multimedia software products, is accused of secretly collecting vast amounts of data from users visiting prominent websites and apps, including Dutch telecommunications company KPN, Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP (National Civil Pension Fund), and the Dutch Tax Authority.

According to SDBN, the collected data is then shared with multiple third parties without obtaining user consent. Moreover, the company allegedly used tactics like hidden tracking cookies and app SDKs to collect data.

In a press release that the organization shared with Hackread.com, users are kept in the dark about their digital footprints, and sometimes Adobe plants cookies before they can say no. These profiles are shared with other companies for targeted advertising.

This practice violates the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), putting users at risk of data exposure, identity fraud, and other privacy concerns. SDBN claims that Adobe is snooping on nearly every Dutch citizen, even those who have never used Adobe products.

“Via websites and apps, Adobe itself illegally collects an enormous amount of data on virtually every Dutch internet user, irrespective of whether they have ever used an Adobe product”.


It warns that this data trade is not risk-free and could expose sensitive information and identity. They are taking Adobe to court, demanding an end to the covert tracking and compensation for millions of affected Dutch citizens.

Adobe profited financially from this unlawful data collection. Hence, SDBN filed a class action lawsuit demanding Adobe to cease illegal data collection, destroy all the illegally collected data, and disclose all parties with whom data has been shared. The lawsuit aims to stop tracking cookies on popular websites and hidden code in apps like Marktplaats and Buienradar. 

SDBN also demands justice for an estimated seven million Dutch citizens whose data was shared, demanding Adobe to remove every illegally collected data and give impacted users compensation for the privacy invasion. 

Dutch internet users can join the fight by signing up for a free mass claim on SDBN’s website. If a Dutch internet user has visited the aforementioned websites or used the listed apps, they may be eligible to join the lawsuit and claim compensation.

SDBN’s chairperson Anouk Ruhaak, stated that the design software vendor’s involvement in mass data collection and trading is surprising.

“While Adobe is primarily recognized as a design software supplier, what’s surprising is its simultaneous involvement in the digital personal data market – tracking your online activities. Have you made online Christmas purchases? Well, Adobe likely has a detailed record of what you browsed and where you bought your Christmas stockings or perfume.”

SDBN also shared a list of websites and apps which it claims are used by Adobe to track users. These included the following sites:

  • Abp.nl
  • Albelli.nl
  • Bruna.nl
  • Douglas.nl
  • Expedia.nl
  • Gamma.nl
  • Karwei.nl
  • ketnet.be
  • Kijk.nl
  • Kpn.com
  • Kwf.nl
  • Tui.nl
  • Unibet.nl
  • Unive.nl
  • Wsj.com
  • Footlocker.nl
  • Hallmark.com
  • Beterhoren.nl
  • Belastingdienst.nl

Examples of mobile apps (iOS and Android) that allegedly contain Adobe tracking software include:

  • Asos
  • RTL XL
  • MijnKPN
  • Ziggo GO
  • Buienradar
  • Marktplaats
  • PlayStation
  • TomTom Go Navigation
  • Essent Verbruiksmanager

Adobe’s Response

In an exclusive statement to Hackread.com, Adobe responded to the accusations stating that it operates as a data processor, with its customers being the data controllers. The customers have control over the data they collect and how it is used, and Adobe’s role is to facilitate this process through its technology platforms while adhering to data protection and consent management practices.

The Foundation’s claims are based on misunderstandings about Adobe’s enterprise technology and Adobe’s role around the data our enterprise customers collect. Contrary to the claims, Adobe is not a “data controller” when providing services to our Experience Cloud customers.

Adobe is a processor of data collected by customers. This means the customer is the data controller and as such, decides which cookies to deploy, what data to collect, what uses to put that data to, and determines what consent to collect from visitors to its own websites.

As a data processor, Adobe enables its customers to make these decisions within the Adobe Experience Platform, part of Adobe Experience Cloud. Adobe does not sell or distribute our customers’ data and provides integrations to consent management tools to help customers implement consent management on their sites as they deem legally necessary based on the countries they operate in.

We encourage you to review our data policy for details at https://www.adobe.com/privacy/experience-cloud.html.

Adobe Spokesperson

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