A group of concerned parents have recently sued ByteDance, Tiktok, for collecting their childrens private data. They have been collecting data from those under 13 without parental consent from “at least 2014”. What have they been doing with this data? They have been selling it to third-party advisers. Recently, we have seen another case of children’s security being at risk as a children’s smartwatch leaves it extremely to access unencrypted information about the children using the watch, including their real-time location.
As you probably know, COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act), outlaws companies from collecting children’s data without parental consent. When you fail to abide by this act, you are breaking the law and will make the company vulnerable to lawsuits.
A TikTok spokesperson had told The Verge that “TikTok was made aware of the allegations in the complaint some time ago, and although we disagree with much of what is alleged in the complaint, we have been working with the parties involved to reach a resolution of the issues,”. The also said that the said resolution should be announced soon.
ByteDance has also reached a settlement with the parents that filed the lawsuit against the company. Both the plaintiff’s lawyer and TikTok both declined to give the details about the settlement.
The plaintiff’s complaint was that the TikTok app failed to provide proper safeguards to stop children from using the app. They also alleges that the app collected the location of the users for almost a year, between December 2015 and October 2016.
A Little Bit of Background
These issues were mainly found due to TikTok’s boosting popularity. The app has had more than 110 million downloads in the US alone. Obviously, the heightened popularity, the more attention the app catches. Not only this, but lawmakers are concerned by TikTok’s and the Chinese government’s relationship. As you may know, the US isn’t in great standings with China.