Our selection of this week’s data protection and privacy news stories…

Privacy watchdogs say that the popular TikTok video app is violating a children’s privacy law and putting kids at risk.

The group, which includes the Center for Digital Democracy and Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, claiming that TikTok collects personal information of minors without parental consent.

US officials concerned about potential national-security risks are scritinizing TikTok, largely due to its Chinese ownership and popularity with children.

Last year TikTok was fined $5.7 million over its violation of the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

In a statement, TikTok said it takes privacy seriously and is committed to ensuring the app is a safe and entertaining community for users.

Source & full story: Associated Press

The website of New York law firm Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks, whose clients include Robert De Niro, Elton John, and Rod Stewart has been hacked.

The firm’s website is currently down and the hackers are claiming to have downloaded 756Gb of data including contracts and personal emails.

The criminals, who are demanding payment, released a screenshot which they allege is of a Madonna contract. It is not known whether the firm is negotiating with the perpetrators.

A spokesperson for the law firm said its clients have been notified and it is working with cyber-security experts.

Source & full story: BBC News

Two UK construction companies involved in the building of emergency coronavirus hospitals were hit by cyber-attacks in May.

Interserve, which helped with the building of NHS Nightingale hospital in Birmingham, and Bam Construct, which delivered the Yorkshire and Humber hospitals, have reported the incidents to authorities.

The government issued a warning earlier this month, that healthcare groups responding to the Coronavirus were being targeted by malicious criminals.

It is not thought the attacks were linked.

Source & full story: BBC News

India’s Covid-19 contact tracing app has been downloaded 100 million times, despite fears over privacy, according to the information technology ministry.

The app – Aarogya Setu, which means “bridge to health” in Sanskrit was launched just six weeks ago. India has made it mandatory for government and private sector employees to download it.

However, users and experts in India and around the world say the app raises huge data security concerns.

The Software Freedom Law Centre, a consortium of lawyers and technology experts, says it is problematic because the government can share the data with “practically anyone it wants”.

Unlike the UK’s Covid-19 tracing app, Aarogya Setu is not ‘open source’. This means it cannot be scrutinized for security flaws by independent researchers and coders.

Source & full story: Yahoo News

A church in San Francisco is taking legal action against video conferencing company Zoom after an online bible study class was interrupted by images of child sexual abuse.

St Paulus Lutheran Church said “sick and disturbing videos” were broadcast when the Zoom class was “hijacked” on 6 May.

According to the church, Zoom “did nothing” when it was contacted for assistance over the incident, which it said had “violated” the sanctity of St Paulus’.

The lawsuit states:

The footages were sick and sickening – portraying adults engaging in sexual acts with each other and performing sexual acts on infants and children, in addition to physically abusing them,

In a statement, Zoom told The Independent it was “upset” about the incident but denied inaction.

Source & full story: Independent

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