Welcome to The Lawyer Portal Monthly News roundup for January 2021 and a belated Happy New Year! This month, Tik Tok faces legal action from a girl in England and a UK court rules that Julian Assange will not be extradited to the US. Following destructive riots at Capitol Hill in Washington DC, Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States.
The action, brought by a girl from England is based on a belief that TikTok may have broken UK and EU data protection laws by collecting children’s data to power its algorithm and boost ad revenue. It is being supported by the children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, who said she hopes that the hearing would conclude in TikTok deleting the child’s data and setting a precedent for the future.
In response, the BBC reports that TikTok said that it had very strong policies in place to protect children using the app. It said the terms and conditions of the app do not allow children under the age of 13 to join the platform. In addition, TikTok said that it has processes in place to remove accounts that appear to be used by minors.
Mr. Assange who is charged 17 times with offences relating to espionage and hacking could face 175 years in a high-security prison if extradited back to the United States. His family and supporters are concerned that if extradited he could be mistreated in revenge. Whilst a number of arguments against his extradition were put forward, Vanessa Baraitser, a District Judge, ruled that concerns regarding his overall mental health and safety due to his suicide risk led her to the decision against extradition. Assange will be kept in custody in the UK pending an appeal from the US.
The case is being brought by the End Violence Against Women coalition against the Director of Public Prosecutions and concerns 20 rape complaints that the CPS failed to charge. The coalition argues that there has been a secret change to the policy encouraging prosecutors not to charge “weaker cases” in order to attempt to improve conviction rates. Some commentators have even gone as far as to say that this has affected the “decriminalisation of rape.”
A spokesperson from the CPS told The Guardian that there was no such change in approach, they stated that when a legal test is met, prosecutors always seek to charge.
In a few hours of chaos, lawmakers were forced to barricade themselves into the locked-down Capitol building and tragically four people lost their lives. After hours of unrest, President Trump called for calm telling protestors that they were “very special” but that they should go home. Following the destruction, many members of the National Guard, the FBI and the US Secret Service are deployed to help secure the building.
Despite the attempts of those involved, just before 4 am on Thursday 7th January, the senators were able to return to their initial business and Joe Biden was confirmed as the successor to Donald Trump as US President.
Two weeks later at the Capitol, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in as the President and Vice President of the United States of America. President Biden stated that “democracy had prevailed” following his own oath. In a break from tradition, Donald Trump did not attend.
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