Tech Digest daily round up: TikTok faces legal challenge over children’s data

Netflix, News

TikTok is facing a legal challenge from former children’s commissioner for England Anne Longfield over how it collects and uses children’s data. The claim is being filed on behalf of millions of children in the UK and EU who have used the hugely popular video-sharing app. If successful, the children affected could each be owed thousands of pounds. TikTok said the case was without merit and it would fight it. Lawyers will allege that TikTok takes children’s personal information, including phone numbers, videos, exact location and biometric data, without sufficient warning, transparency or the necessary consent required by law, and without children or parents knowing what is being done with that information. BBC

Netflix shares tanked as the streaming giant revealed it had signed up 12m fewer subscribers in the first three months of the year than in 2020, signalling the pandemic-induced box set binging boom may be coming to an end. The streaming giant booked revenues of $7.2bn (£5.2bn) but signed up just 4m new people, the lowest first-quarter figure for four years, and shy of its 6m forecast made three months ago. It also warned shareholders that growth will slow even further in the next quarter to a record low of just 1m subscribers, partially because of lack of content until the second half of the year. Telegraph

Instagram users will be able to filter out abusive messages and comments they receive as part of a new update unveiled by the social media platform. Premier League footballers and other sporting stars have revealed widespread racist, sexist and other abuse sent to them on the platform in recent months, sparking outrage. A number of players and football clubs have taken part in social media blackouts in protest at tech firms and their policing of such content. Now Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has announced a new tool that will allow users to automatically filter Direct Message (DM) requests from people they do not follow if the messages contain offensive words, phrases or emojis. Yahoo! News

Apple is adding purple versions of its iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini to its latest generation of smartphones. The new models will be available for pre-order 23 April and officially released 30 April in the UK. Fans of the iPhone will recognise Apple’s return to its statement flat aluminium edges on its newest generation of smartphones, which already consists of the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 in blue, green, black, white and red, and premium models of the phone, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max in graphite, silver, gold and pacific blue. Apple says the ‘ceramic shield’ front cover makes the range the most durable yet, while its A14 Bionic chip – which Apple claims to be the fastest on the market – increases battery efficiency and manages apps quickly and smoothly, for easy multitasking. All the devices have 5G connectivity, which is currently in the early stages of roll-out across London and the UK. Evening Standard 

Smartphone makers could be forced to say for how long handsets will be guaranteed to receive important security updates under new laws proposed by the Government. The move is part of wider plans to make sure “virtually all” smart devices meet tighter security requirements, including smart speakers and video doorbells. Easy-to-guess universal default passwords such as “password” and “admin” would also be banned. At present, when buying a new smartphone, it is not always entirely clear how long the manufacturer intends to send out updates which are vital for patching any software flaws that are found. Should the laws be approved, device makers would be compelled to tell customers the duration of time security software updates will be made available at the point of sale. Yahoo! News

Chris Price
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