Video-sharing app TikTok fined $29m in UK for violating children’s privacy

Video-sharing app TikTok faces a $29 million fine in the UK after a UK government investigation found the social media app breached UK data protection laws and did not failed to protect the children’s privacy.

According to the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), a notice of intent was issued to the TikTok entity and TikTok Information Technologies UK, alleging that the social media app breached UK rules between May 2018 and July 2020. A notice of intent precedes a potential fine from the regulator.

ICO also explained that TikTok “may have” processed data from children under 13 without parental consent. Further, he said the company may have failed to provide appropriate information to its users in a concise, transparent and easily understandable manner and processed special category data, without a legal basis to do so.

Special Category Data refers to sensitive personal data in areas such as sexual orientation, religious beliefs, ethnic and racial origin, political opinions, and genetic and biometric data.

Information Commissioner John Edwards, while addressing TikTok’s breach of children’s data protection laws, said:

“We all want children to be able to learn and experience the digital world, but with appropriate data privacy protections.

“Companies providing digital services have a legal obligation to put these protections in place, but our preliminary view is that TikTok has failed to meet this requirement.

Edwards also indicated that the ICO plans to take enforcement action against other companies.

“We are currently reviewing how over 50 different online services comply with the Children’s Code and have six ongoing investigations into companies providing digital services which we believe have not taken their responsibilities seriously enough. child safety”,

The UK’s “Children’s Code”, also known as the age-appropriate design code, aims create a safer Internet for children by applying 15 standards that online applications and services must meet.

It specifically targets Big Tech names including Meta, YouTube and TikTok, and applies to all companies, including those outside the UK, that process the personal data of UK children.

Shirley K. Rosa