Canadian privacy regulators launch TikTok probe

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Canadian privacy protection regulators said on Feb. 23 that they have launched an investigation into TikTok over its use and collection of users’ personal information.

The Chinese-owned platform is under growing Western scrutiny, and Canada’s move came just hours after the European Commission banned the app from all employees’ work devices to “protect” the institution.

Canada’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner said it had launched a joint probe into TikTok alongside provincial privacy regulators from Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta.

The investigation was initiated “in the wake of now-settled class-action lawsuits in the United States and Canada, as well as numerous media reports related to TikTok’s collection, use and disclosure of personal information,” a statement said.

The probe aims to establish “whether the organization’s practices are in compliance with Canadian privacy legislation.”

The privacy regulators said many of the social network’s users are younger, and there is a greater “importance of protecting children’s privacy.”

The massively popular video-sharing platform, owned by Chinese giant ByteDance, has come under increasing scrutiny from the West over concerns that Beijing could access user data from around the world.

The US Congress passed a ban on downloading TikTok for most government devices, which President Joe Biden signed in late December, and momentum is building among lawmakers to broaden it even further.

Relations between China and Canada have deteriorated sharply in recent years, particularly after Canada arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou at the request of the United States in 2018.

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