West News Wire: Due to its misuse of children’s data and violations of other privacy laws, Britain’s privacy authority fined TikTok millions of dollars on Tuesday. 

The short-video sharing app, which is extremely well-liked among young people, was fined 12.7 million pounds ($15.9 million), according to the Information Commissioner’s Office. 

It’s the most recent instance of increased scrutiny that TikTok and its parent company, Chinese technology company ByteDance, are subjected to in the West, where governments are worried about the risks the app presents to cybersecurity and data privacy. 

In spite of the platform’s own warnings, the British watchdog, which was looking into data breaches between May 2018 and July 2020, claimed TikTok permitted as many as 1.4 million children in the UK under 13 to use the app in 2020, despite the platform’s own rules prohibiting children that young from setting up accounts. 

TikTok didn’t adequately identify and remove children under 13 from the platform, the watchdog said. And even though it knew younger children were using the app, TikTok failed to get consent from their parents to process their data, as required by Britain’s data protection laws, the agency said. 

“There are laws in place to make sure our children are as safe in the digital world as they are in the physical world. TikTok did not abide by those laws,” Information Commissioner John Edwards said in a press release. 

TikTok collected and used personal data of children who were inappropriately given access to the app, he said. 

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“That means that their data may have been used to track them and profile them, potentially delivering harmful, inappropriate content at their very next scroll,” Edwards said. 

The company said it disagreed with the watchdog’s decision. 


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