TikTok: A Good Point about Data Collection

April 21, 2021

I wish I could recall which addled Silicon Valley podcaster explained that TikTok was not a problem. I would urge this individual to read in the British paper the article “Case Launched Against TikTok over Collection of Children’s Data.” The essay explains:

Despite a minimum age requirement of 13, Ofcom found last year that 42% of UK eight to 12-year-olds used TikTok. As with other social media companies such as Facebook, there have long been concerns about data collection and the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office is investigating TikTok’s handling of children’s personal information. Longfield said: “We’re not trying to say that it’s not fun. Families like it. It’s been something that’s been really important over lockdown, it’s helped people keep in touch, they’ve had lots of enjoyment. But my view is that the price to pay for that shouldn’t be there – for their personal information to be illegally collected en masse, and passed on to others, most probably for financial gain, without them even knowing about it. “And the excessive nature of that collection is something which drove us to [challenge] TikTok rather than others.

The cloud of unknowing swirling around individuals who insist that data collection from children is no big deal is large and possibly impenetrable.

TikTok says it is an outfit staying within the bright white lines. Nevertheless, according to the write up:

In February last year, ByteDance, the Chinese company legally domiciled in the Cayman Islands that owns TikTok, was fined a record £4.2m ($5.7m) in the US for illegally collecting personal information from children under 13.

Add to the actions which triggered the fine, TikTok is an outfit associated with China. The data from TikTok might add some useful insights about user predilections if those data flow into a Chinese aggregation system.

To the cheerleaders for TikTok, I would suggest a rethink of your position. However, it is possible that funding for some cheerleading squads may be coming from interesting sources and carry along some other agendas. Bad actors can operate within a regulation lax environment. That’s a reality.

Stephen E Arnold, April 21, 2021


Comments are closed.

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta