In one of the largest privacy-related payouts in the United States, TikTok parent company ByteDance has agreed to give USD 92 million. The company agreed to fork over the amount to settle a class-action lawsuit against it over alleged privacy violations. The lawsuit alleged that the app failed to take the consent of users collecting data for ad targeting purposes. The federal lawsuit said that TikTok violated the Illinois biometric privacy law. The law allows suit against companies if they fail to take consent before harvesting consumer data. Illinois is the only state that has laws allowing residents to seek monetary damages in such cases.
Lawyers associated with the matter said that it is one of the largest privacy-related payouts. It involved almost all TikTok users of the country. It follows 21 class-action lawsuits against the company. They claim that the company broke several consumer protection laws in California. The lawsuit alleged that the app collected the biometric data of users by purportedly using facial recognition technology. The data collected included gender, ethnicity, and age. Most importantly, this was under the guise of stopping underage users off the app. TikTok had to pay millions in fines to settle the case. It has been claimed that TikTok not gathered highly sensitive personal data but also sold that without users’ permission.
However, TikTok has denied all these allegations. But said that it agreed to pay the settlement to avoid a legal battle. “We totally disagree with the assertions. But to avoid lengthy litigation, we agreed to pay for the settlement. We can use this effort towards building a safe and joyful experience for our users.” TikTok spokesperson said that the company has agreed to comply with all the laws and refrain from collecting any data of users. This will include location information being collected by using GPS or clipboard data. In case the company has to do so, the users will be dually informed about it.