TikTok might be fined £27 million by the UK Antitrust Authority for Failing to Protect Children’s Privacy

TikTok might be fined £27 million by the UK Antitrust Authority for Failing to Protect Children’s Privacy

For failing to protect children’s privacy, the UK Antitrust Regulator might fine TikTok £27 million.

TikTok is mired in new controversy as it faces a £27 million ($29 million) fine as the British Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) finds him guilty of breaching child data protection laws over a two-year period.

The ICO claimed that the TikTok breach occurred between May 2018 and July 2020, accusing the ByteDance-owned company of processing data from children under the age of 13 without parental consent, adding that the company may have “failed to provide appropriate information to its users in a concise, transparent and easy-to-understand manner” and “processing of special category data, without a legal basis for doing so.”

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The special category data the ICO refers to is sensitive personal data in areas such as sexual orientation, religious beliefs, racial and ethnic origin, political opinions, and genetic and biometric data.

Recently, TikTok has come under more scrutiny over its data privacy practices, and it should be noted that the antitrust body, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has fined its parent company, ByteDance, $5.7 million for violating a children’s website. Privacy Protection Act. (cup).

TikTok has also been embroiled in another scandal, as it was recently forced to halt a planned privacy policy change in Europe that is expected to temporarily stop requiring users to explicitly consent to targeted ads.

Also recently, a UK Supreme Court judge gave the green light to a class action lawsuit against TikTok over its alleged handling of children’s data, after it was initially brought by a 12-year-old in 2020.

With the sporadic rise of TikTok over the years, challenging established social media sites for sponsorship, especially after it crossed the 1 billion active users in 2021, it has managed to attract more kids to its app, since they spend almost as much time on TikTok as they do. an act. in youtube. This may have prompted YouTube’s owner, Google, to invest in a service to compete with the platform known as YouTube shorts.

El uso de su plataforma por parte de los niños ha hecho que TikTok tenga más preocupaciones de los usuarios sobre sus prácticas de privacidad de datos, y es comprensible que la plataforma intente alinearse de los de brechos de brechos youngsters.

TikTok began restricting virtual gifts in 2019 to teens over the age of 18 and has since opened a “trust and safety center” in Europe. It also disabled direct messaging for those under 16, even as it introduced features like Family Safety Mode and screen time management.

The new disclosure comes on the heels of an earlier ICO investigation first launched in 2019, in which the regulator said it would look into the process by which TikTok collects your private data. The ICO investigation also wanted to find out whether TikTok’s practices constitute a violation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which has tasked companies with implementing measures to protect underage users, as well as addressing how the platform allows children to interact with adults. .

Therefore, the ICO with the new hammer on TikTok issued a ‘Notice of Intent to TikTok Inc and TikTok Information Technologies UK Limited, primarily known as a legal document outlining its findings prior to the final decision, and gave TikTok the opportunity to respond.

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In response to the query, a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement sent to TechCrunch:

“This Notice of Intent, covering the period from May 2018 to July 2020, is provisional and, as the ICO itself has stated, no final conclusions can be drawn at this time. While we respect the ICO’s role in protecting privacy in the UK, we do not agree with the initial views that have been made. expressed and intend to formally respond to the ICO in due course.”

For its part, the ICO stated that “no conclusion should be reached at this time” as to whether there has been a breach of data protection law, or whether any fines will in fact be imposed.

ICO Information Commissioner John Edwards said in a statement:

“We all want children to be able to learn and experience the digital world, but with appropriate data privacy protections. Companies that provide digital services have a legal duty to implement that protection, but our provisional opinion is that TikTok has not met this requirement.”

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