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TikTok to be penalised for breaching the privacy of children in EU

TikTok to be penalised for breaching the privacy of children in EU

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Social media platform TikTok will be fined for breaching children’s data privacy laws in the European Union, according to the European Data Protection Board (EDPB).

The regulator said that it had adopted a dispute resolution decision following TikTok’s legal objections to an earlier ruling in Ireland which is the video-sharing company’s European headquarters.

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In the earlier ruling, a draft decision was issued by the Irish Data Protection Authority (DPA) for an own-volition inquiry into TikTok’s processing of the personal data of its users below the age of 17.

The objections against the video-sharing platform include an infringement of data protection by design and default with regard to age verification and an infringement of the principle of fairness with regard to certain design practices. However, no consensus was reached on the objection lodged by DPA.

As TikTok processes its data across borders, the EDPB has intervened in the case on the basis of Article 65 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GPDR) which safeguards an individual’s data protection rights when data processing occurs in more than one country.

The EDPB has also stated that its binding decision will take into account the EDPB's legal assessment of the situation with a final decision against TikTok to be announced in a few weeks.

Earlier this year, TikTok was in hot water with government officials in the US when Chew Shou Zi, TikTok's CEO, sat through a grueling five-hour battle with US lawmakers.

In the hearing, Chew fought tooth and nail (albeit calmly) to insist that TikTok does not sell data to the Chinese government. He further emphasised the controls put in place to protect younger users from harmful or inappropriate content, and the steps taken to protect the mental health of the young with controls.

In Singapore, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) recently issued a new code of practice with a tighter control on advertisements on the social media accounts of children to minimise their exposure to harmful content.

With effect from 18 July 2023, the Online Safety Code will ensure that social media accounts belonging to children must not receive advertisements, promoted content and content recommendations that may be detrimental to a child’s physical or mental well-being, according to a statement by IMDA.

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