Video-sharing app TikTok and its Chinese parent ByteDance is facing a damages’ claim worth billions of dollars in a British court case over allegations they illegally harvested private data of millions of European children.
Video-sharing app TikTok and its Chinese parent ByteDance could face a damages’ claim worth billions of dollars in a British court case over allegations they illegally harvested private data of millions of European children.
Each affected child could receive thousands of pounds if the claim is successful, says England’s former Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield who is acting as a litigation friend, the public face of an anonymous 12-year-old girl leading the class action in the High Court. TikTok says it will contest the action.
Longfield alleges every child that has used TikTok since 25 May 2018 may have had private personal information illegally collected by ByteDance through TikTok for the benefit of unknown third parties.
“Parents and children have a right to know that private information, including phone numbers, physical location and videos of their children, are being illegally collected,” she said..
“TikTok is a hugely popular social media platform that has helped children keep in touch with their friends during an incredibly difficult year. However, behind the fun songs, dance challenges and lip-sync trends lies something far more sinister.”
The company responded by saying: “Privacy and safety are top priorities for TikTok and we have robust policies, processes and technologies in place to help protect all users, and our teenage users in particular. We believe the claims lack merit and intend to vigorously defend the action.”
The claimants allege TikTok violated UK and EU data protection laws by processing youngsters’ data without adequate security measures, transparency, the consent of guardiansor legitimate interest.
The claim demands the company deletes all of the children’s personal information and states damages could run into billions of pounds if the action is successful.
The case has been put on hold until a UK Supreme Court ruling in an action against Google concerning alleged unlawful tracking of iPhone users in 2011 and 2012 through third-party cookies. That case is due to be heard next week.
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