TikTok Faces a Legal Challenge Over Data Held On Minors

Social video-sharing app TikTok is currently facing a legal challenge over how it collects data from minors. Former children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, is leading the claim that has been filed on the behalf of millions of children across the UK and the EU.

This isn’t the first time that this social platform has been in the news with previous claims over data mishandling in South Korea and in the UK. Below, we look at the legal challenge in more detail and discuss the issues surrounding minors accessing these sites.

Lack Of Warning Regarding Data Collection

The legal challenge that TikTok is facing is focused on the collection of data from minors who use the app. According to the lawyers leading the claims, this social platform collects videos, phone numbers, personal information, the exact location and biometric data without proper warning.

With more than 800 million users worldwide, TikTok is growing rapidly and has been throughout the pandemic. The case isn’t just focused on the data of one minor – instead, it is being launched on behalf of any child who may have used the app since 25 May 2018.

Anne Longfield believes that TikTok is operating with “shadowy data collection practises” while a lawyer fighting the case noted that the case represents a “severe breach of UK and EU data protection law”. This is a serious allegation and one that TikTok has denied.

TikTok Has Been Challenged Before

TikTok has already received a few warnings, and fines, in the past in response to poor practices over the collection of data. Despite policies that forbid under 13’s from accessing the platform, Ofcom has recently reported that 44% of 8-12 year olds in the UK still use TikTok.

Back in 2019, TikTok received a $5.7m fine from the FTC and it has also been fined by the South Korean government and investigated in the UK.

Recently, AgeChecked CEO Alastair Graham spoke of a tragic event in which a 10-year old girl died in Italy in relation to a challenge on this channel. As a result of her death, TikTok committed to only accepting users in Italy who were able to verify their age.

What Needs To Be Done?

TikTok has received orders in the past to delete any data held on minors and set up an age verification system. While there is no way that they can go back in time and resolve the issues that are currently being challenged in court, they should take this new claim as a stark warning and put more exhaustive measures in place going forward.

TikTok isn’t the only social networking platform that has received claims regarding misuse of data in the past with companies such as Facebook also making headlines in this area. It is clear that not enough is being done on social channels to verify age and ensure that any data collected is not from minors. Companies should be doing everything to ensure that minors do not have access to these platforms.

Can AgeChecked Help?

Lawmakers and regulators are being expected to take greater responsibility when it comes to allowing underage users to access adult material. Social networking channels often contain adult material that isn’t suitable for minors to access. Minors must be protected online and age verification is often the most effective way of achieving this.

AgeChecked believes that age verification should be common practice for any kind of social platforms. We offer a range of secure and private age verification solutions across multiple industries that could be effective in this space.

If you are interested in finding out more about any of our age verification solutions, don’t hesitate to get in touch today.

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