A European consumer protection group based in Portugal has filed a lawsuit against the short-video app TikTok, accusing it of allowing children under 13 years old to create accounts without parental consent and neglecting to implement measures for their protection.

The legal action follows a £12.7 million ($15.81 million) fine imposed on TikTok by Britain's data watchdog for violating data protection laws, including using children's personal data without parental permission.

TikTok, owned by ByteDance Ltd, has faced bans on government devices in Australia, the United States, France, and other Western countries amid growing concerns that China could exploit the company to access users' data. The non-profit organization Ius Omnibus claims that TikTok profits from the vulnerability of children under 13 and has asked a Lisbon court to halt the "unlawful conduct" and order financial compensation for those affected.

In a statement to Portuguese newspaper Publico, TikTok stated that the protection of its users and their data is of "utmost importance." However, Ius Omnibus argues that TikTok's collection and processing of children's personal data breach Portugal's constitution, the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and unfair commercial practices law.

The group contends that despite TikTok's age restrictions, the platform does not have mechanisms in place to prevent users under 13 from registering. Additionally, Ius Omnibus filed a separate lawsuit alleging that users older than 13 are also victims of "misleading business practices," and that their personal data is used without full consent.

Ius Omnibus warns that this situation exposes children to risks to their "moral, psychological and physical integrity and to their safety and health, as well as to the intimacy of their private and family life."