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UK fines TikTok £12.7m over breach of data protection law

UK fines TikTok £12.7m over breach of data protection law

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), a United Kingdom data watchdog, has fined TikTok, a video-sharing social media application, the sum of £12.7 million for “misusing” children’s data.

This is coming a few weeks after the social media application was banned from all UK government-owned phones, over security data safety concerns.

The ICO on Tuesday said after carrying out an investigation, the video-sharing app breached the country’s data protection laws.

It said the breaches happened between May 2018 and July 2020.

According to the office’s evaluation, TikTok allowed up to 1.4 million UK children under 13 to use its platform in 2020, despite its own rules not allowing children within that age to create an account.

The agency added that the UK data protection law stipulates that platforms that use personal data when offering information to children under 13 must have parental consent.

Speaking on the development, John Edwards, UK’s information commissioner, said the data of the children were at stake, hence the fine.

“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,” Edwards said.

“As a consequence, an estimated one million under 13 seconds were inappropriately granted access to the platform, with TikTok collecting and using their data.

“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.

“TikTok should have known better. TikTok should have done better. Our £12.7m fine reflects the serious impact their failures may have had.”

On the contrary, TikTok has disagreed with the ICO’s decision.

Aside from the UK, the United States of America and some other countries have expressed concerns on continued use of the social media app.

These countries, as a result, have banned and blocked the app from future downloads over “threat to security”.

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