France Starts Preliminary Probe on China’s TikTok

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The world is watching China’s famed video-sharing app TikTok and France is also jumping on the investigation, following a complaint in May.

France’s data privacy watchdog CNIL opened a preliminary investigation on ByteDance’s TikTok app after a privacy complaint and concerns were raised to the organization. The same issues were also the reasons for the US and the European Union’s decision to investigate the app.

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The spokesperson didn’t provide information on the nature of the complaint raised, or the identity of the plaintiff. CNIL only disclosed a report received in May regarding a privacy issue. The organization also mentioned that they are looking at how TikTok communicates with users.

France Preliminary Probe on China’s TikTok

According to some sources, the complaint was from someone who’s asking for a removal of a video from the app, who didn’t seek the help of TikTok first. Under the EU rules, there has to be communication between the plaintiff and the service provider before it reaches the higher authority.

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More than company communication, authorities are also looking at how TikTok protects the welfare of children who use the application. These questions are part of the investigation of the European Union, as TikTok plans to open a headquarters in the region.

When asked about the CNIL probe, TikTok said, “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.”

Part of the probe is questioning the app’s practice in exercising users’ rights, the flow of data out of the European Union, and measures to protect minors.

Data Center in Ireland

The EU’s data protection department said it coordinates with the experts in the investigation and establishes a separate taskforce to understand the processing and practices of the app. The taskforce will also overlook the final decision on TikTok’s plan to set up a base in Ireland.

The Union already oversees privacy and data processing of tech giants in the region, including Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

Before the company can open a headquarters in Ireland, CNIL said they should prove to follow the conditions under the bloc’s data protection rules.

TikTok confirmed a €450 million investment in Ireland, as it sets up its first data center in Europe.

While the EU has been monitoring TikTok since May, the U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office has been looking at the app since last year.

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