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Canadian privacy watchdogs launch investigation into TikTok

The investigation into TikTok will have a particular focus on younger users

FILE - A visitor passes the TikTok exhibition stands at the Gamescom computer gaming fair in Cologne, Germany, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022. The European Union's executive arm said Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023 it has temporarily banned TikTok from phones used by employees as a cybersecurity measure, reflecting growing worries from authorities over the Chinese-owned video sharing app. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)
Canada's Privacy Commissioner and three provincial privacy watchdogs are launching an investigation into TikTok's use and disclosure of personal information. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File) (The Associated Press)

Canada's Privacy Commissioner and three provincial privacy watchdogs are launching an investigation into TikTok.

The investigation into the Chinese-owned video streaming app was launched "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," according to a statement released by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada on Thursday.

The joint investigation will be conducted by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the Commission d'accès à l'information du Québec, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for B.C., and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta.

"The four privacy regulators will examine whether the organization’s practices are in compliance 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 press release said, adding that the investigation will specifically focus on younger users, who are "an important proportion of TikTok 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."

On Thursday, the European Commission banned TikTok from its employees' corporate phones over cybersecurity concerns. The European Union's council followed suit and said it will also ban TikTok on staff phones.

With files from Reuters

Alicja Siekierska is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @alicjawithaj.

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