TikTok Abused Kids’ Data — UK Fines it $16 Million

UK regulator punishes TikTok at 5.5% of revenue. Says app illegally tracked children.

The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) issued a fine of £12.7M. It’s chump change for ByteDance, TikTok’s parent, but the UK is far from the only country exercised about this: EU regulators have been investigating for at least 18 months.

In other news, Australia bans the app from federal phones, making it the fifth eye to close. In today’s SB Blogwatch , we sip our coffee, oblivious to the events unfolding currently.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: Analyzing Kraftwerk.

This is Fine: $8.50 per Child

What’s the craic? Shiona McCallum and Zoe Kleinman report—“ TikTok fined £12.7m for misusing children’s data ”:

Security concerns
The video-sharing site used the data of children of this age without parental consent, according to an investigation. … The ICO said many were able to access the site despite TikTok setting 13 as the minimum age. … It said that children’s data may have been used to track and profile them, and potentially present them with harmful or inappropriate content.

And it comes as the platform is already under global scrutiny over security concerns. Many Western countries are taking measures … over fears users’ data will be shared with the Chinese government. The app has been banned on government devices in Canada, Belgium, Denmark, New Zealand, Taiwan, the UK, the US and for anyone working at the European Commission.

And now Australia, too. G’day, Kirsty Needham, Renju Jose and Lewis Jackson—“ Australia bans TikTok on government devices ”:

Chinese influence
The ban underscores growing worries that China could use the Beijing-based company … to harvest users’ data to advance its political agenda, undermining Western security interests. … With Australia’s ban, all members of the so-called Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network … have banned the app from government devices.

While TikTok comes under mounting pressure over the potential Chinese influence over the platform, it also faces criticism over its influence on children.

Wielding CALC.EXE, it’s docdeek :

So less than [$10] per child? That’ll teach ’em.

Doesn’t sound like much, as Natasha Lomas confirms—“ Fine for misusing children’s data ”:

One point of comparison: Last year, rival social network Instagram was fined €405M for misusing children’s data under … the GDPR. Although, in that case, the penalty reflects cross-border data processing activity across the 27-Member State bloc — whereas the ICO’s enforcement of TikTok is conducted on behalf of only UK users.

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) opened an investigation of TikTok’s handling of children’s data back in September 2021. That pan-EU probe is ongoing — and … there could be many more months for the process to run yet. Also ongoing in the EU: An investigation by the DPC of TikTok’s data transfers to China since the GDPR also governs data exports.

Ah, yes: Brexit. u/Dr0idy reminds us this is just for the United Kingdom:

Seems pretty reasonable as a fine to me: … Revenue for TikTok in the UK was $279M (£223M) so this fine is 5.45% of revenue.

However, this Anonymous Coward rolls their eyes:

It seems suspicious that no other social media companies have been fined for this before. [In] my previous experience of working in schools, [a] large percentage of under 13s have Instagram and Snapchat. And I suspect for of lot of those children it’s without their parental consent and they just lied when making their account.

Of course the danger is that [Mom] reads these sort of stories and decides that the government must do something to protect their children [rather than] to be responsible parents and know what apps their children are using.

Won’t somebody think of the parents? codedokode takes that thought to its logical conclusion:

I don’t understand why reckless parents who let small kids use internet without supervision are not fined.

Returning to Australia, dmay34 wonders if it’s a slow news day:

Work devices are for work. How is this hard? All games and entertainment apps should be banned from all work provided devices.

This shouldn’t even be controversial. Work give you a phone, it’s used for work. Buy your own phone for … personal use.

Sounds like bandwagon-jumping? jamesfinlayson seems to think so:

A couple of years ago I was talking with a guy who works for an Australian federal politician. He said that he wasn’t even allowed to have his phone above desk/table level in meetings—it had to stay in his lap—in case the camera had been compromised.

Meanwhile, last word must go to u/Puge_Henis : [You’re fired—Ed.]

Oh no! I’m sure Steve Tiktok is shaking in his boots.

And Finally:

Geh von meinem Rasen runter!

Hat tip: Varmint

Previously in And Finally

You have been reading SB Blogwatch by Richi Jennings . Richi curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites … so you don’t have to. Hate mail may be directed to @RiCHi or [email protected] . Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Do not stare into laser with remaining eye. E&OE. 30.

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Richi Jennings

Richi Jennings is a foolish independent industry analyst, editor, and content strategist. A former developer and marketer, he’s also written or edited for Computerworld, Microsoft, Cisco, Micro Focus, HashiCorp, Ferris Research, Osterman Research, Orthogonal Thinking, Native Trust, Elgan Media, Petri, Cyren, Agari, Webroot, HP, HPE, NetApp on Forbes and CIO.com. Bizarrely, his ridiculous work has even won awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors, ABM/Jesse H. Neal, and B2B Magazine.

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