By LE Desk
April 21: A former children’s commissioner for England has launched a “landmark case” against the video-sharing app TikTok, alleging that it illegally collects the personal information of its child users.
Anne Longfield, who held the commissioner post between March 2015 and February this year, has lodged a claim in the high court on behalf of millions of children in the UK and the European Economic Area who have used TikTok since 25 March 2018, the Guardian reported.
She alleges the app is breaching UK and EU children’s data protection law and aims to stop it processing the information of millions of children, make it delete all such existing data and pay compensation she believes could run into billions of pounds.
Despite a minimum age requirement of 13, Ofcom found last year that 42% of UK eight to 12-year-olds used TikTok. As with other social media companies such as Facebook, there have long been concerns about data collection and the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office is investigating TikTok’s handling of children’s personal information.
The legal claim alleges that TikTok takes children’s personal information without sufficient warning, transparency or the necessary consent required by law, and without parents and children knowing what is being done with their private information. Longfield believes more than 3.5 million children in the UK alone could have been affected.
In February last year, ByteDance, the Chinese company legally domiciled in the Cayman Islands that owns TikTok, was fined a record £4.2m ($5.7m) in the US for illegally collecting personal information from children under 13, the Guardian said.