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Chinese app TikTok may be fined to the tune of $29 million for not protecting the privacy of children. Here is what we know so far

The Chinese video-sharing app also faced the ire of the British data protection agency for not having legal backing to process the data of minors. The provisional findings against TikTok came a year after Britain introduced the Children's Code, a data protection code of practice for online services accessed by children.

Chinese video sharing app, TikTok, may be fined to the tune of $29 million for its failure to protect the privacy of children. A warning notice to this effect was sent to the company by the Information Commissioner’s Office in the United Kingdom on Monday (September 26).

As per reports, TikTok processed sensitive information of children without the permission of their parents between May 2018 and July 2020. The British regulators also pulled up the company for failing to explain its data practices in an easy-to-understand language to the children.

The Chinese video-sharing app also faced the ire of the British data protection agency for not having legal backing to process the data of minors. The provisional findings against TikTok came a year after Britain introduced the Children’s Code, a data protection code of practice for online services accessed by children.

In a statement, Information Commissioner John Edwards informed, “Companies providing digital services have a legal duty to put those protections in place, but our provisional view is that TikTok fell short of meeting that requirement.” As such, the British regulator issued a ‘notice of intent’ to TikTok and TikTok Information Technologies UK Ltd.

John Edwards further added, “We are currently looking into how over 50 different online services are conforming with the Children’s Code and have six ongoing investigations looking into companies providing digital services who haven’t, in our initial view, taken their responsibilities around child safety seriously enough.”

TikTok has formally disagreed with the findings of the British data protection agency and said, “While we respect the ICO’s role in safeguarding privacy in the U.K., we disagree with the preliminary views expressed and intend to formally respond to the ICO in due course.”

When India banned TikTok for being a security threat

In January 2021, the Government of India permanently banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, WeChat, Baidu, Alibaba’s UC Browser, Club Factory, BIGO Live and others. In June 2020, the government temporarily censored these apps.

The original action was initiated by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY), Government of India, under Section 69A of the IT Act, stating that these apps were engaging in activities prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the State and public order.

By the end of 2020, a total of 267 apps originating from China were banned in batches. PUBG, a popular mobile game, was also banned as a Chinese company that owned shares in the game although it is owned and developed by PUBG Corporation, a South Korean gaming company.

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