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UK may fine TikTok $29 million for failing to protect children's privacy

FILE PHOTO: TikTok head office in United States

(Reuters) - Britain could fine TikTok 27 million pounds ($28.91 million) following an investigation that found the short-form video app may have breached UK's data protection law by failing to safeguard privacy of children using the platform.

The investigation found that TikTok could have processed data of children under the age of 13 without appropriate parental consent and failed to provide proper information to its users in a transparent way.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has issued TikTok and TikTok Information Technologies UK Ltd with a "notice of intent", the regulator said in a statement.

"Companies providing digital services have a legal duty to put those protections in place, but our provisional view is that TikTok fell short of meeting that requirement," Information Commissioner John Edwards said.

"While we respect the ICO's role in safeguarding privacy in the UK, we disagree with the preliminary views expressed and intend to formally respond to the ICO in due course," a TikTok spokesperson said in a emailed statement to Reuters.

ICO's provisional view suggests that TikTok breached UK data protection law between May 2018 and July 2020.

In July, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee voted to approve a measure that would raise the age children are given special online privacy protections to 16 and bar targeted advertising to children by companies such as TikTok and Snapchat without consent.

($1 = 0.9339 pounds)

(Reporting by Radhika Anilkumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)