TikTok faces EU data probes into children’s safety, China link

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission said it opened two ‘own volition’ investigations into ByteDance Ltd’s TikTok amid worries about the way it handles its users’ data. — AFP

TikTok faces two investigations by the Irish data watchdog following intense scrutiny for months over concerns that children’s data isn’t safe on the platform.

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, said on Tuesday it opened two “own volition” investigations into ByteDance Ltd’s TikTok amid worries about the way it handles its users’ data. The Irish regulator became TikTok’s lead European Union data protection authority in December.

The first probe will look into TikTok’s processing of data by its underage users and whether it’s in line with the EU’s strict protection rules. The second follows concerns expressed by the Irish privacy chief, Helen Dixon, that some EU user data could be accessed by “maintenance and AI engineers in China”.

The Irish authority has dozens of privacy probes open into tech giants, who could face hefty fines for violations with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, which gave data commissions unprecedented fining powers. Facebook Inc’s WhatsApp was fined €225mil (RM1.10bil) earlier this month, following a record-breaking €746mil (RM3.66bil) penalty against Amazon.com Inc by the Luxembourg data watchdog.

“The privacy and safety of the TikTok community, particularly our youngest members, is our highest priority,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday, adding it will cooperate with the Irish authority. “We’ve implemented extensive policies and controls to safeguard user data and rely on approved methods for data being transferred from Europe, such as standard contractual clauses.” – Bloomberg

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