Italy orders TikTok to stop using children’s data
Order comes after a 10-year-old girl died after taking part in a social media challenge.
The Italian data protection authority on Friday ordered video sharing platform TikTok to immediately stop collecting and using data of users whose ages it doesn’t know “with certainty.”
The order comes after a 10-year-old girl in the Sicilian city of Palermo died from asphyxiation after participating in a so-called blackout challenge on the social network. Users must be 13-years-old or older to set up an account, according to the company’s policies.
“The authority has decided to intervene as a matter of urgency following the terrible story of the 10-year-old girl from Palermo,” the authority, called Garante, said in a statement Friday.
Ordinarily privacy enforcement against TikTok would be led by the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), since the platform is legally established in Dublin. But Garante said it is invoking an emergency procedure that allows it to act directly against the company. It said it had notified the Irish authority of the restrictions, which will initially be in place until February 15.
A spokesperson for the Irish DPC declined to comment on Garante’s order, but confirmed that the DPC has been TikTok’s lead authority under EU rules since mid-December.
The action comes while Garante was already investigating TikTok, having initiated a formal procedure against the app in December. TikTok did not respond to a request for comment.