The UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has fined TikTok, the popular Chinese social network, 12.7 million pounds for improperly using minors' personal information.
The ICO further alleged that TikTok had illegally harvested personal information from children without obtaining parental consent. This latest development highlights the need for stronger regulations to ensure tech companies prioritize user safety and privacy, particularly when it comes to protecting children.
The social media giant violated digital privacy regulations, according to the ICO's investigation, by failing to take the necessary actions to address the issue. This is not the first time that TikTok has been accused of mishandling user data.
TikTok Fined 12.7 Million for Breaching Minors' Digital Privacy
The fine imposed on TikTok is part of a broader campaign against digital companies which abuse customer data.
According to the ICO's investigation, TikTok had let minors to share their names, email addresses, and dates of birth without obtaining their parents' consent.
This violated digital privacy laws that require companies to obtain parental consent before collecting and processing personal information from children under the age of 13. The sum levied against TikTok is the highest one that the ICO has ever imposed for a violation of data protection laws.
Stricter Regulations Are Required to Safeguard Users
The latest fine imposed on TikTok highlights the need for stricter regulations to protect users, especially children, from potential harm caused by unscrupulous data collection practices. John Edwards, the UK Information Commissioner, affirms that "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".
The ICO has urged tech companies to put user privacy and safety first, especially when it comes to safeguarding children. Meanwhile, the UK government has announced intentions to introduce new legislation that will increase fines for companies that break data privacy regulations and offer people more control over their personal information.
Governments' Prohibition of TikTok on Work Phones
Due to concerns about digital privacy, a number of governmental entities, including the White House, the European Commission, as well as the governments of Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, have lately forbidden their civil officials from using TikTok on their work phones. The Swedish military and the Norwegian government took similar actions due to growing concerns about how the social media site handles user data.
Last updated: April 5, 2023