French Data Watchdog Opens Investigation Into TikTok

Adding to the Chinese video-sharing app’s troubles, CNIL have begun to scrutinise its use of users’ data.

The Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) has begun a preliminary investigation into TikTok’s handling of user data after it received a complaint.

The CNIL began investigations into the tiktok.com website and the Tiktok application in May 2020,” a CNIL spokesperson said. “The CNIL had indeed received a complaint at that date.”

The spokesperson confirmed that the investigation was exploring the amount of information provided to TikTok users, the transfer of data from within the EU and measures taken to protect children on the platform.

TikTok said in a statement: “Protecting Tiktok users’ privacy and safety is our top priority. We are aware of the investigation by the CNIL and are fully cooperating with them.”

The video-sharing app, owned by Chinese parent company ByteDance, is already the subject of investigation by US, EU and Dutch authorities due to privacy concerns. Recently, President Trump issued an executive order calling for the app to be sold to a new owner or else be banned from the US within 45 days.

Children’s data is rightly a top concern for parents, governments, regulators, and children themselves,” commented Helga Turku, data protection and privacy director at HewardMills. “[TikTok’s] popularity grew very quickly in a short period, and now the pressure will be on TikTok to demonstrate that it has established a robust data privacy program able to properly protect users.”

CNIL is practiced in investigating tech giants, having made headlines in 2019 for striking Google with a $57 million fine (which was upheld in June), the largest fine successfully levied against one of the Big Five to date.

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