ICO Fines TikTok Over Children’s Data

News and information from the Advent IM team.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued one of its biggest-ever fines (£12.7m) to the TikTok platform. This fine relates to the platform’s failure to protect the privacy of children. Although the site has a policy of over -13s only unless with parental consent, it would appear that many accounts were set up by under-thirteens without parental consent. This opened them up to tracking and profiling as happens to all the other TikTok users, or offers of unsuitable material to view on the platform. The platform defended itself by saying it had invested heavily in preventing under thirteens from accessing the site.

You can read all about the fine here >> on BBC News 

It occurs to me when reading about this fine that it may well be one of the biggest fines ever served by the ICO, eclipsed only by Marriott Hotels and British Airways I believe, but it probably won’t have a huge impact on TikTok. It does, however, give us the chance to stop and pause and think about how our data is used on social media platforms, as individuals with rights and freedoms. This fine was a punishment in part, for the attempt to track and profile children, and the abuse of children’s data. Will it make adult users stop and think about how happy they are about being tracked and profiled? We all use social media at our own risk; brands and individuals alike and checking the access privileges on apps before installing them is an irritation for most people. Perhaps if people thought about their own data in the same way the ICO has considered that of children, some resulting user power could counteract some of the biggest liberties taken in the name of social media.

I have said it before but it’s a very good idea to check the permissions on apps before you install them. Ask yourself if what the app wants access to is reasonable considering what it is used for. Would you be happy to hand that information over to anyone else? It might be the app everyone is using at the time but considering the size of this fine, should tell you how little thought to privacy really goes on when it comes to data grabbing….





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