NEWS21 April 2021

TikTok sued over use of children’s data

GDPR News Privacy Technology UK Youth

UK – Former children’s commissioner Anne Longfield is taking TikTok to court over the video-sharing app’s collection and use of children’s personal data.

smartphone screen showing tiktok app and other social media icons

The case is being brought to the high court by Longfield on behalf of millions of children across the UK and Europe, and relates to data taken since 2018 including phone numbers, videos, exact location and biometric data.

Lawyers working on the case claim that the data was taken by TikTok without sufficient warning, transparency or the necessary consent required by law, and without children or parents knowing what was being done with that information.

The launch of the court case follows a ruling by the high court on 30th December 2020 that the case could go forward with the original claimant being identified only as a girl of 12 from London.

A spokesperson for TikTok said in a statement that the company believes “the claims lack merit” and intends to “vigorously defend the action”.

“Privacy and safety are top priorities for TikTok and we have robust policies, processes and technologies in place to help protect all users, and our teenage users in particular,” the statement adds.

The company changed its default settings for users under the age of 16 earlier this year, including setting accounts to private by default and reducing the ability to search for and find under-16 users on the site.