Two inquiries have been opened by the lead data privacy regulator for the Chinese owned short video sharing app TikTok within the European Union over the manner I n which the company processes children’s personal data and whether it transfers such data to its headquarters in China.
The Data Protection Commission of Ireland is the lead EU data regulator for TikTok as well as for many of the top internet firms of the world by virtue of the companies having their regional headquarters in Ireland and the regulator has the power of imposing a fine of as much as 4 per cent of the global revenues of companies found guilty of violating regulations.
Stricter privacy controls for teenagers was announced in August by TikTok in an effort to react to criticism about the company failing to prevent children from being exposed to hidden advertising and inappropriate content.
TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance, has gained popularioty quickly all over the world, particularly among teenagers.
The first of the probes is related “to the processing of personal data in the context of platform settings for users under age 18 and age verification measures for persons under 13,” the Data Protection Commission said in a statement.
The statement said that the second investigation will be focused on transfer of personal data by TikTok to its servers in China and to find out if the company complies with EU data law with respect to how it transfers personal data to countries outside the bloc.
Extensive policies and controls to safeguard user data had been implemented by the company, said a spokesperson for TikTok, who added that the firm depends on approved methods for transferring of data from Europe, such as standard contractual clauses.
“The privacy and safety of the TikTok community, particularly our youngest members, is our highest priority,” the spokesperson said.
A record 225 million euro ($265.64 million) fine was imposed by Ireland’s data watchdog earlier this month on Facebook’s WhatsApp under the General Data Protection Regulation law (GDPR) of the EU which was enacted in 2018.
However there have also been criticisms of the Irish watchdog by other European regulators about the pace at which the Irish regulator holds probes as well as the severeness of the fines and penalties imposed on companies by it.
The Irish regulator had 27 international inquiries in progress at the end of last year, including 14 into Facebook and its subsidiaries.
(Adapted from NDTV.com)