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French privacy watchdog opens investigation into TikTok

French privacy watchdog opens investigation into TikTok

FILE PHOTO: TikTok logos are seen on smartphones in front of a displayed ByteDance logo in this illustration taken November 27, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

PARIS: France's data privacy watchdog CNIL said on Tuesday (Aug 11) that it was making preliminary investigations into TikTok after it received a complaint in May against the Chinese-owned video-sharing app.

TikTok, owned by China's ByteDance, is already under investigation over privacy concerns by U.S., European Union and Dutch authorities.

"The CNIL began investigations into the website and the TikTok application in May 2020. The CNIL had indeed received a complaint at that date," a spokesman for the authority said in written comments sent to Reuters on the case.

"To date, the CNIL continues its investigations and participates in ongoing European work."

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."

The investigations concern the level of information provided to TikTok's users and how they can exercise their rights, the flow of data going out of the European Union and measures taken to protect minors, the CNIL spokesman said.

The complaint in May was closed after it appeared the complainant, who was asking for a removal of a video from the app, didn't first ask TikTok to do so as required by EU rules, the spokesman said.

The CNIL is part of a recently established EU task-force on TikTok. It is notably reviewing TikTok's arrival in the region and its wish for Ireland's Data Protection Commission (DPC) as its chief oversight national regulator, the CNIL spokesman said.

The composition of the task-force hasn't been made public.

In the United States, officials have said that TikTok poses a national security risk because of the personal data it handles.

President Donald Trump has threatened to ban TikTok and has given ByteDance 45 days to negotiate a sale of TikTok's US operations to Microsoft.

Source: Reuters/jt


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