For failing to protect children’s privacy while they use the app, TikTok could be hit with a £27 million fine.
According to the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the video-sharing website, TikTok may have handled underage users’ data without getting their consent. The watchdog stated that the infringement occurred over a period of more than two years, from July 2020, but that it had not yet reached a final determination.
TikTok claims that it disagrees with the conclusions and calls them “provisional.” TikTok Inc. and TikTok Information Technologies UK Limited have received a “notice of intent” from the ICO, a legal document that comes before a potential penalty.
The notice outlines the ICO’s preliminary conclusion that between May 2018 and July 2020, TikTok violated UK data protection law.
According to the ICO probe, the social platform may:
- failed to offer accurate information to its users in a clear, transparent, and understandable manner
- processed special category data without having the legal justification to do so
- processed the data of children under the age of 13 without the requisite parental consent
Additionally, we are investigating how more than 50 different online services are adhering to the Children’s Code and have six continuing investigations into businesses that offer digital services that, in our initial opinion, haven’t taken their obligations for child safety seriously enough.
Despite its restrictions barring under-13s on the platform, 44% of eight to 12-year-olds in the UK use TikTok, according to Ofcom. We all want children to be able to learn about and experience the digital world, but with appropriate data privacy protections, according to Information Commissioner John Edwards.
“Digital service providers are required by law to put these safeguards in place, but in our preliminary assessment, TikTok did not do so.” TikTok has implemented a variety of measures to improve user privacy and security, such as letting parents link their accounts to those of their kids and banning direct messaging for users under the age of 16.
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