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TikTok halts privacy policy update aimed at tracking users’ behavior without consent

TikTok paused its controversial privacy policy update meant to track users' behavior patterns without their consent after receiving a formal warning from the Italian regulator.

According to the Italian data protection authority — the Garante per la Protezione dei Dati Personali, – TikTok has informed users over the age of 18 that they will now be subjected to personalized ads.

Starting July 13, the platform was planning to start tracking its users for behavior patterns and suggest ads based on the results. To account for these changes, TikTok modified its privacy notice, replacing the concept of consent with what Garante calls “vaguely defined ‘legitimate interests’ by Tik Tok and partners.”

The Italian data protection authority stated that such a move is incompatible with EU directive 2002/58 and Section 122 of the Italian personal data protection law. Both of these legislations say that consent is required for any data storage and access.

Additionally, there are concerns over minors who might be subjected to the same targeted ads as TikTok is struggling “to establish compliance with the age requirements to access the platform.”

“Therefore, the Italian SA relied on the powers conferred on it by the GDPR and sent a formal ‘warning’ to TikTok that processing data on the basis of its ‘legitimate interest’ would be in conflict with the current regulatory framework,” Garante said.

On Tuesday, TikTok agreed to pause the update in Europe.

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