TikTok is facing a potential lawsuit in the United Kingdom for allegedly failing to protect children’s data.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), served the video-sharing company with a “notice of intent,” a legal indication of a pending fine.
The breach is said to have happened between May 2018 and July 2020. ICO termed the potential fine as provisional.
The regulator says TikTok may have processed the data of children under the age of 13 without parental consent, failed to present information to its users in a way that’s easy to understand, and processed “special category data” — such as information on a person’s race or ethnicity — without legal grounds.
“We all want children to be able to learn and experience the digital world, but with proper data privacy protections,” said Information Commissioner John Edwards.
The Commission further said, “No conclusion should be drawn at this stage that there has, in fact, been any breach of data protection law or that a financial penalty will ultimately be imposed.”
If found guilty, TikTok would be fined a maximum of 4% of its annual global revenues as dictated by the European Union’s the EU’s GDPR, which is still enshrined in U.K. law.
The company has 30 days to respond to the claims. The platform is popular with teens and has continued to gain a competitive edge against other platforms.