Support Centre

You have out of 5 free articles left for the month

Signup for a trial to access unlimited content.

Start Trial

Continue reading on DataGuidance with:

Free Member

Limited Articles

Create an account to continue accessing select articles, resources, and guidance notes.

Free Trial

Unlimited Access

Start your free trial to access unlimited articles, resources, guidance notes, and workspaces.

UK: High Court allows class action against TikTok in SMO v TikTok and others

The England and Wales High Court issued, on 8 March 2022, its judgment in SMO (a child) (by their litigation friend (acting as a representative claimant pursuant to CPR 19.6)) v TikTok Inc. and others [2022] EWHC 489, in which it ordered for the case to stay pending the outcome of Google LLC's appeal in the landmark case of Lloyd (Respondent) v Google LLC (Appellant) [2021] UKSC 50, following a legal claim filed by Anne Longfield against TikTok and Others in December 2020.

Background to the case

In particular, the High Court stated that the current class action follows from a representative action won on 30 December 2020, brought by Anne Longfield, former Children's Commissioner for violations of the General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) ('EU GDPR') on behalf of children under the age of 16 (under 13 in the UK) who are resident in the UK or the EEA since 25 May 2018 and who have used TikTok previously known as Musical.ly. In particular, the High Court outlined that the case concerns the misuse of private information and unlawful processing of data in SMO (a child) (by their litigation friend (acting as a representative claimant pursuant to CPR 19.6)) v TikTok Inc. and others [2020] EWHC 3589 (QB).

Findings of the High Court

Furthermore, the High Court noted that the claim alleges that TikTok and others have violated the EU GDPR and UK General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) (2016/679) ('UK GDPR') for processing the personal data of children and for invading their privacy and misusing the children's private information. In this regard, the High Court stated that the claim argues that TikTok has failed to be transparent on the extent of the children's data it processes and the purposes for which children's private information is collected. In particular, the High Court outlined the allegations that TikTok collected and processed information required when setting up an account, device information and location, as well as behavioural and content information, including viewed content, how long users view videos, what advertisements are viewed and for how long, how many times videos are viewed and search history, and inferred information, such as age-range or gender.

Outcome

Ultimately, the High Court deemed it appropriate to order for the case to stay pending the judgment and outcome of Google's appeal in the case of Lloyd v Google LLC, "as it is as an attack on the viability of the whole claim on a representative basis, following Lloyd v Google, that will effectively bring an end to the claim against all Defendants", as stated by Nicklin J, whereby the outcome of said case will be significant as it will determine the course for future claims of damages payable for violations of the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK GDPR.

You can read the decision here.