Data Misuse: The Next Big Threat to B2B
Posted by LeadScale on August 30, 2023
Welcome to a new chapter of the data misuse drama: When Will Companies Learn?
In today’s episode, another tech giant is fined for not doing the obvious: protecting children’s data. TikTok – the platform young people love, has failed its most loyal users.
The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) recently fined TikTok £12.7 million for flunking the simplest data privacy test. The app that makes people lip-sync, dance, and meme-creating pros misused children’s data, and ICO did not let them off with just a warning.
The People Behind the Data
Data misuse is no joke. Privacy is a right protected by law, and TikTok dropped the ball on not only protecting privacy but kids’ privacy. But the Chinese tech giant isn’t alone.
Other tech giants like Meta, Amazon, and Google also received expensive fines in 2023. This, for example, is not the first time we write about a company being called out and fined for data misuse.
In a world of data-driven technologies, it’s easy to forget that the strings of ones and zeros streaming through cyberspace aren’t just abstract bits of information. They represent real people, their lives, and their stories.
Every click, every search, and every online interaction is a testament to the individuals who willingly share their personal information with companies. It’s crucial to recognize that data isn’t just data – it is people’s lives intertwined with technology. It demands the utmost care and respect.
TikTok's Mysterious Data Intentions
When telling people how you will store and use their data, using pages and pages of legalese filled with double negatives is never an honest move. TikTok took this one step further by putting this language in front of children. The law says that anyone under the age of 13 cannot understand the concepts of data privacy. TikTok had a responsibility to protect these children, and according to the ICO, they failed in their duty.
Privacy is a big deal; being upfront about handling personal data should be rule number one. TikTok missed that memo and was caught in some hot water.
This is not the first time TikTok violated data protection laws. In 2020, the company was fined $5.7 million by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for collecting personal data from children under 13 without parental consent.
These fines clearly signal that data protection regulators are taking data misuse seriously. They are also a reminder that companies need to be more transparent about how they collect and use data and that they need to obtain consent from users before collecting personal data.
With the word, Mr. Robin Caller
The past three years have seen a greater focus on improper processing. Currently, the penalties for improper processing outweigh those for security.
Although the TikTok investigation focuses on children, the decision and penalty remind organizations that privacy information must be communicated to data subjects in an easy-to-understand, concise, and transparent manner.
It’s a question of time before the unfair bundling of consents, forcing users to consent to unlock machine functionality, for example, is a primary focus of a significant penalty.
Transparency is King.
Beyond Warnings: Embracing a New Era
Gone are the days when a mere warning would suffice for data violations. Regulatory agencies have transitioned into a new era of uncompromising standards. Their role extends beyond punitive actions; they serve as educators, advocating for transparent data practices and consent-driven interactions. LeadScale was founded on these very same principles. They are baked into all our technology and processes across the business.
Regulatory authorities have targeted B2C for a while, so don’t be surprised when they start to target B2B.
TikTok’s mistakes should be a wake-up call in a world where tech is our ally and data is gold.
Data misuse isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a real deal that can cost companies a pretty penny in fines and much more from losing customers´ trust. So next time you think about using people’s data, remember TikTok, Meta, Google, and Amazon. It’s a cautionary tale of what happens when revenue is your top priority rather than protecting your customers and their data – and trust us, it’s an absurd show you do not want a front-row seat for.
The rampant misuse of data is not new, nor are the regulations that protect people’s privacy and their data. What is new is that the regulators are starting to take notice and issue significant fines. First it was for data breaches, now, it is for the misuse of data in B2C. Can B2B be far behind?
Contact our team to see how LeadScale can help you avoid the fines.