The former English children’s commissioner Anne Longfield has filed a lawsuit against the video platform TikTok. She accuses TikTok of illegally collecting the personal information of children in the UK and Europe.
Longfield sued on behalf of children under 16 in the EU and under 13 in the UK. She targets TikTok, but also parent company ByteDance. According to a press release, the former children’s rights commissioner is demanding several billion pounds in compensation.
About 3.5 million children in the UK are affected, according to Longfield. She states that any child who has used TikTok since May 2018, i.e. since the introduction of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in Europe, could be involved, whether they have an account or not.
Personal data is comprehensive, from phone numbers, videos, photos, connection locations or even biometric data, for facial recognition, for example. The complaint, which is also supported by law firm Scott + Scott, states that TikTok collects data without prior notice, without transparency and without consent, as required by law.
According to Longfield, TikTok, which has 800 million users worldwide, remains deliberately vague about user data, which is of “incredible value” to the company. She points out that parent company ByteDance, which is registered in the Cayman Islands, would have generated sales of nearly $ 30 billion by 2020. Two-thirds of that are advertising income.