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TikTok faces GDPR probe over children’s data and China transfers

TikTok Inc updates

The Irish data commissioner has launched investigations into TikTok over its dealing with of children’s data and alleged switch of person data to China, marking the newest regulatory issues over the favored video app.

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, which oversees the enforcement of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation within the nation, introduced on Tuesday that it will study the corporate’s processing of private data for below 18-year-olds, together with the corporate’s age-verification measures for under-13s.

A second inquiry will study TikTok’s alleged transfers of private data to China.

Companies could be fined as much as 4 per cent of annual world revenues, or €20m, for GDPR breaches. ByteDance reported annual revenues of $34.3bn in 2020, a rise of 111 per cent from the earlier yr. TikTok is within the technique of opening an EU headquarters in Dublin.

“We’ve implemented extensive policies and controls to safeguard user data and rely on approved methods for data being transferred from Europe, such as standard contractual clause,” the corporate mentioned, including that it will co-operate with the Irish regulator.

The investigations got here as TikTok, which soared in reputation amongst youngsters throughout pandemic-related lockdowns, battles nationwide safety and privateness issues worldwide. 

Joe Biden’s administration is reviewing former president Donald Trump’s efforts to ban the app as a menace to nationwide safety amid wider fears that Chinese corporations may share American residents’ data with Beijing for espionage functions.

TikTok has mentioned it doesn’t share American person data with the Chinese authorities. ByteDance held talks final yr with a number of corporations, together with Microsoft and Oracle, over a possible sale of its US operations in an effort to resolve its tensions with Washington.

Separately, TikTok has been sued for a number of billion kilos for allegedly illegally accumulating the non-public data of hundreds of thousands of youngsters within the UK and Europe. The declare, which is backed by Anne Longfield, the previous children’s commissioner of England, argues that children’s data was collected with out adequate consent — which for underage customers would should be given by an grownup — or transparency.

TikTok denied the claims, arguing that it had “robust policies” in place to “protect all users, and our teenage users in particular”.

The app has additionally confronted little one privateness complaints within the US. ByteDance was fined $5.7m in 2019 by the Federal Trade Commission for illegally accumulating children’s data.

In July, TikTok was fined €750,000 by the Dutch Data Protection Authority for violating the privateness of kid customers. The regulator argued that by not publishing its privateness insurance policies in Dutch, the app failed to offer “an adequate explanation of how the app collects, processes and uses personal data” for youthful customers who don’t converse English.

The platform has additionally been below investigation by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office since 2019 over its dealing with of children’s data. TikTok mentioned it will work with the investigation.

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