Canada’s privacy commissioner announced Thursday that it is launching a joint federal and provincial investigation into the short-form video app TikTok over concerns about the Chinese-owned platform’s collection, use, and disclosure of personal information.
The commissioner’s office said in a statement that federal privacy regulators, as well as their provincial counterparts in Quebec, British Columbia, and Alberta, will investigate whether TikTok’s practices comply with Canadian privacy laws.
According to the statement, they will focus on verifying “whether valid and meaningful consent to the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information has been obtained.”
A TikTok spokesperson said user privacy and security is “always a top priority” and the investigation was an opportunity to “improve the record” on how the company protects the privacy of Canadians.
Canada has joined governments and regulators around the world in investigating TikTok over concerns that China could use the app to collect user data or advance its own interests. Tiktok is owned by ByteDance Limited.
The European Union’s two top policymaking bodies have banned TikTok from employees’ phones, while the US Senate passed a bill in December to prevent federal employees from using the app on government-owned devices.
The investigation also marks another potential thorn in China-Canada relations, which have been strained for a variety of reasons, including recent allegations by Ottawa that China has tried to influence its elections and air and sea surveillance.
Beijing denies the allegations and urges Ottawa to stop baseless speculation and defamation.
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