The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has launched an investigation against TikTok over its data collection practices. Canada recently joined the list of countries that have suddenly become aware of the threat TikTok poses to their citizens.
The Canadian privacy authorities are investigating how TikTok could be linked with the Chinese government and how the platform's owners might tamper with users' data.
According to a statement released on the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada website, "The privacy protection authorities for Canada, Québec, British Columbia, and Alberta announced today that they will jointly investigate the short-form video streaming application TikTok."
According to the commission, they suddenly became interested in how things were going at TikTok because of many class action cases against the company. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada also reiterated that once they are through with the investigations, it will help them know the next action they will take against TikTok. The commission said, "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."
The Agencies To Investigate TikTok
According to the Canadian privacy authorities, about four agencies have been appointed to investigate how the company protects TikTok users in Canada. They will examine some metrics on TikTok usage in Canada and possible data breaches. All the agencies appointed by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada are independent.
The commission said, "The four privacy regulators will examine whether the organization’s practices comply with Canadian privacy legislation and, in particular, whether valid and meaningful consent is being obtained for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information. The investigation will also determine if the company is meeting its transparency obligations, particularly when collecting personal information from its users."
The four known agencies that will be investigating how the data of TikTok users in Canada are being used are The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC), The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta (OIPC AB), The Commission d'accès à l'information du Québec (CAI), and The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia (OIPC BC).
Each office here has different roles they will play during the investigations. It is reported that the OPC will investigate the social media platform compliance with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). Also, the OIPC BC will investigate TikTok's compliance with the Personal Information Protection Act. The CAI and OIPC AB will also take on other roles.
Why the Investigation?
According to The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the major reason for investigating TikTok is to secure Canadian users' data. TikTok usage in Canada is mostly among young folks, and the government is trying to protect their data from exploitation.
According to the commission, "An important proportion of TikTok users are younger users. Given the importance of protecting children’s privacy, the joint investigation will have a particular focus on TikTok’s privacy practices as they relate to younger users, including whether the company obtained valid and meaningful consent from these users for the collection, use and disclosure of their personal information."