A 12-year-old English girl took the first steps in a lawsuit against TikTok on Thursday. The intended claimant is joined by Anne Longfield as a litigation friend, a form of legal advocate in the English court system. Longfield, the United Kingdom’s Children Commissioner, and the claimant intend to bring action against “six corporate defendants said to be involved in or responsible for the operation of the social media platform TikTok.” Longfield and the claimant allege that “the defendants have misused the claimant’s private information and processed the claimant’s personal data in breach of the duties imposed by the General Data Protection Regulation.”
On Thursday, the intended claimant won the right to issue an anonymous claim against the tech giant. In granting the intended claimant’s request for privacy, Justice Mark Warby accepted “the Commissioner’s evidence that children are particularly sensitive to the sort of attention and scrutiny to which [the Commissioner] has referred, and that such attention can have a marked and detrimental impact on a child’s mental health, and emotional and educational development.” Justice Warby further reasoned that “this is not a case in which the identity or other singular attributes of the claimant are central, or even important aspects of the claim.” The intended claimant will now pursue her case under the pseudonym “SMO.”
In his judgment, Justice Warby also noted that the intended claimant’s case resembles Lloyd v. Google, another data privacy case pending in the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court. The intended claimant may wait for a ruling in Lloyd v. Google before pressing her case further.