Legal claim against TikTok brought by former Children’s Commissioner for England

Anne Longfield OBE is bringing a legal claim against TikTok and its parent company ByteDance for illegally collecting millions of children’s private information in the UK and Europe.

21/04/21

Legal claim against TikTok brought by former Children’s Commissioner for England

The former Children’s Commissioner for England is bringing a legal claim against TikTok and its parent company ByteDance, saying they are illegally collecting millions of children’s private information and sharing it with unknown third parties for profit.

TikTok is a popular short-form video app, owned by its Cayman Islands-based parent company, ByteDance, with 800 million users worldwide.

TikTok faces accusations of violating the UK Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018 and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the UK GDPR (post-Brexit) by failing to provide adequate safeguards to prevent illegal processing of children’s information.

Anne Longfield OBE, along with law firm Scott + Scott, is bringing the case on behalf of parents to stop TikTok illegally processing children’s information through the app, and demanding that the company deletes all children’s personal information that they say has been collected unlawfully.

The legal claim also aims to win compensation for affected children, which could be in the thousands of pounds per child.

The legal claim is a representative action brought on behalf of children under the age of 16 (under 13 in the UK) and resident in the UK or the EEA since 25 May 2018 who have used the TikTok and/or Musical/ly apps.

The claim alleges that TikTok and ByteDance have violated UK and EU children’s data protection law (GDPR), and deceived parents about how exposed their children’s private information is when they use the app.

When a child uses TikTok, the social media platform collects an enormous amount of private and personal information, including date of birth, email address, telephone number, profile pictures and/or videos, location of the child’s phone or device, information provided about the child’s sexual orientation or religious beliefs, and more.

However, the legal claim argues that TikTok is failing to be transparent about the extent of children’s data it processes and the purposes for which children’s private information is collected.

TikTok was already fined $5.7m in February 2019 by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for collecting children’s data without consent.

TikTok has over 800 million active users and was the most downloaded app globally in both 2019 and 2020. Campaigners say more than 3.5 million children in the UK alone may have had their private information illegally collected while they used TikTok, with millions more in the European Economic Area.

To find out more about the campaign visit: https://tiktokdataclaim.uk

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