A highly popular mobile phone application called Tiktok is being sued by Anne Longfield, former children’s commissioner from England. She stated that the application unknowingly steals data from children’s phones without clearly mentioning it in their terms of service. Ms. Longfield says that if the case is in our favor, Tiktok will owe thousands of pounds to each of the children’s using Tiktok.
Tiktok has been a huge hit between people of all age groups during the Pandemic. It has over 800 million users worldwide. Tiktok has made huge revenues during the pandemic has more and more people found Tiktok to be a fun way to kill time while they were locked at homes.
MS Longfield states that all the children who have been using this application since the 25th of May 2018 will be a part of this claim, Even if they don’t have an account registered for Tiktok. Any children who don’t want to be a part of this case can easily opt-out. Ms. Longfield told the news that the only reason she’s aiming for Tiktok is because of their hidden and shadowed privacy settings, She claims that even though the application has countless downloads and a huge number of population is enjoying the application, it’s not just about dancing in front of the camera or chatting with your buddies, it’s about Tiktok collecting children’s data and storing it without their parents’ consent.
This is not the first time Tiktok has been accused of such a case, Tiktok has been on a similar page back in 2019 when the application was called Musical.ly. The firm was fined in South Korea a hefty sum of $5.7m for mishandling the data collected from children. Tiktok was later asked to delete the data collected from children and they were also urged to have an age restriction system where children under 13 should not be allowed to register for and use the application. According to a survey, 44% of children aged 8 to 12 are using Tiktok despite the policies restricting children under the age of 13 from using and registering to the application.
An official from the Law firm, Scott and Scott, MR Tom Southwell stated that the data being collected by Tiktok is without the children’s and their parent’s consent, this is a major breach of the United Kingdom and European Data Collection Law.
To all these allegations, Tiktok responded that Privacy and safety are Tiktok’s top priorities and we’ve implemented robust policies, processes, and technologies to protect all users, and teen users specifically. We believe the claims lack merit and the plan is to forcefully defend their actions.
Ms. Longfield has been planning to sue Tiktok for quite a while since an anonymous 12-year-old girl filed a case against Tiktok with the help of MS Longfield. She also stated that she was awaiting a similar case to conclude before suing Tiktok, which was done by MR Richard Lloyd. MR Lloyd, on behalf of 4.4 million Apple users filed a lawsuit against Google as he stated that Google was using its “DoubleClick Cookie” technology to collect the internet history of its users which it later sold to advertising companies and sole advertisers. The lawsuit was filed back in 2017 and still hasn’t reached a verdict.
Another Law official, MR Richard Leedham said that it might get difficult to succeed in such cases if the Supreme Court dismisses MR Lloyd’s claims.