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A 12-year old British girl is suing TikTok over use of her personal data

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A report carried by Bloomberg says a 12-year old girl domiciled in London has gotten the nod to remain anonymous while instituting legal proceedings against short-form video app TikTok. The girl claims the video-sharing app violated the European Union’s strict data protection rules.TikTok

The affirmation of her anonymity was done by a judge in London, giving her the push to go ahead with the lawsuit. The unnamed 12-year-old will be represented by Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England. Longfield says that getting the court to provide her with anonymity was extremely imperative considering that she could face “direct online bullying by other children or users of the TikTok app” and “negative or hostile reactions from social media influencers” if her identity were made public.

In making his decision earlier this week, Judge Mark Warby said that the child “intends to go to a court asserting — rightly or wrongly — that her privacy rights and those of others like her have been infringed in ways that call for a remedy.” The judge added that not giving the girl her anonymity could “have a chilling effect on the bringing of claims by children to vindicate their data-protection rights.”

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What makes this case particularly interesting is that according to TikTok’s terms and conditions, 13 is the minimum age to use the app. However, there’s a version of TikTok where persons under 13 can create videos but not post them, and they can view only videos deemed appropriate for children. So technically, the girl is not eligible to use the app unsupervised. But then, we don’t have access to details of the lawsuit just yet.

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Tiktok has often come under scrutiny by Europe’s watchdogs especially on the aspect of the app’s collection of children’s private data. The Data-protection heads in June created a task force amid plans to coordinate an investigation into “TikTok’s processing and practices.”

In a statement, TikTok said, “Privacy and safety are top priorities for TikTok and we have robust policies, processes, and technologies in place to protect all users and our younger users in particular.” However, being owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company hasn’t helped its cause. The US government has been on the neck of ByteDance

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to sell its US business to an American company over privacy concerns or face an outright ban.

Despite its struggles, the app still remains one of the most popular apps. As of the end of 2020, Tiktok has seen over two million downloads on the App Store and the Google Play Store with more than 800 million active users.

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