Irish privacy watchdog investigates how TikTok processes children's data

The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), the Irish privacy watchdog, is investigating how video app TikTok processes data from children. The committee is also investigating sending users’ personal data to China.

The investigation stems from an earlier investigation by the Dutch Data Protection Authority, which transferred the results to Ireland because the head office is now located there.

In the study, the DPC focuses on “processing personal data in the context of platform settings for users under the age of 18”. The watchdog is also examining the age verification methods that TikTok uses for children under 13. According to the terms of use, children under this age are not allowed to use the app.

The Irish DPC is the EU’s main watchdog for many internet companies, as they are often based in Ireland. TikTok also partly operates from Ireland. The commission can impose fines of up to 4 percent of the turnover of companies worldwide.

China

A second investigation by the watchdog will look at the possible sharing of data from EU users with China, where parent company ByteDance is located. The DPC does not yet provide any details about this investigation.

In a response, TikTok says that the privacy and security of its users and “especially our youngest members” are the “top priority”. The company has “implemented a comprehensive policy and controls” to protect user data and “relies on the approved methods for data transfer from Europe”.

Lawsuit

TikTok and ByteDance have been under fire for some time for potentially violating privacy rules. For example, the Consumers’ Association and the Take Back Your Privacy Foundation announced in August that they would take ByteDance to court. They demand from the company compensation for Dutch children for violating their privacy.

NOS Stories made this video about privacy and TikTok:

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