Turkish privacy watchdog launches probe into TikTok

Turkish privacy watchdog launches probe into TikTok

Turkish privacy watchdog launches probe into TikTok

Turkey’s privacy watchdog has launched a probe into Chinese video sharing and messaging platform TikTok following media reports saying that the application poses high risks to users’ data.

The Personal Data Protection Board (KVKK) has acted on its own motion to open an investigation against TikTok after security flaw reports appeared on media, the authority said in a statement on July 3.

The KVKK in the past fined social media giant Facebook 3.2 million Turkish Liras ($473,380) for breaching data protection rules.

TikTok, which is particularly popular among teenagers globally, has nearly 30 million users in Turkey.

“Even information deleted on a mobile phone can be stored [by TikTok], technical specifications of mobile phones can be gathered, and it can conduct voice and imagery recording even when the application is closed, according to allegations,” said Ali Murat Kırık, an associate professor from Marmara University’s Faculty of Communication.

It is also claimed that the application can download illicit content without the permission of the user, he told daily Milliyet.

Every application collects personal information such as gender, age, occupation, health condition and political view, said Turhan Menteş from Hacettepe University.

“These areas cannot be left to the will of users as most of them don’t have enough knowledge,” he added.

Governments are bringing stricter regulations to prevent companies’ misconduct of user data, said Menteş.

He also underlined that many new applications have collected huge amount of data during the coronavirus outbreaks in a bid to track the spread of the pandemic.