New iOS 14 feature prompts TikTok to end clipboard snooping

Posted:
in iOS edited June 2020
Massively popular video-sharing app TikTok on Thursday reiterated intent to stop accessing the iOS system clipboard after a new iOS 14 beta feature revealed the app was doing just that.


Source: Jeremy Burge via Twitter


When Apple's iOS 14 sees release this fall it will integrate a new feature that displays a notification every time a third-party app accesses the clipboard, a temporary store for text and other copied assets. The capability is designed to present users a better understanding of how apps interact with their data.

As discovered by Emojipedia's Jeremy Burge, TikTok appears to grab clipboard content on a routine basis, even when the app is in the background. Burge illustrated the behavior in a tweet Wednesday that showed TikTok reading and "pasting" content from the system clipboard as he typed text in Instagram. The action occurs every one to three keystrokes.

TikTok has employed the practice for some time, according to The Telegraph. In March, TikTok developer ByteDance told the publication that it planned to stop clipboard access "within a few weeks."

It was only until Apple released the first iOS 14 beta that users discovered the mechanism remains active.

"For TikTok, this was triggered by a feature designed to identify repetitive, spammy behavior. We have already submitted an updated version of the app to the App Store removing the anti-spam feature to eliminate any potential confusion," a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement to The Telegraph. "TikTok is committed to protecting users privacy and being transparent about how our app works."

ByteDance declined to detail how clipboard information is being used and whether the data is offloaded from user devices. It also failed to clarify whether it intends to remove the same feature from its Android app.
netrox

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,057member
    I hope Apple is able to use the notification feature when reviewing new and updated apps. This should help catch developers adding backdoors. 
    bulk001watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 13
    ivanhivanh Posts: 597member
    this CCP spyware should be pulled off from app store completely!
    pujones1jahblademuthuk_vanalingamviclauyycDogpersonPetrolDavebulk001bluefire1watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 13
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 1,076member
    It’s probably pretty easy to piece bank routing and account numbers together using this method, among other things. 
    viclauyycbulk001watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 13
    Apps should not be allowed to read the clipboard without prompting, unless initiated by the user through a text edit menu.
    aplnubmuthuk_vanalingamviclauyycDogpersonbulk001bonobobquazarwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 13
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,605member
    Monstieur said:
    Apps should not be allowed to read the clipboard without prompting, unless initiated by the user through a text edit menu.
    100% agree.
    muthuk_vanalingambulk001quazarwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 13
    sylveonsylveon Posts: 3member
    How is it even possible that Apple allows an app that actually spys on my clipboard without my consent? Without even telling me at all?
    I‘m glad that I haven’t downloaded tiktok, because I thought you couldn’t trust it at all. I was right I guess. 
    PetrolDavebulk001bonobobquazar
  • Reply 7 of 13
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    ivanh said:
    this CCP spyware should be pulled off from app store completely!

    Ahhh!   Here come the right wing crazies spouting #ChinaHate -- and trying to distract from gross failures and corruption here in the U.S.

    They're so predictable....  And pitiful
    edited June 2020 bakedbananasspheric
  • Reply 8 of 13
    bulk001bulk001 Posts: 710member
    ivanh said:
    this CCP spyware should be pulled off from app store completely!

    Ahhh!   Here come the right wing crazies spouting #ChinaHate -- and trying to distract from gross failures and corruption here in the U.S.

    They're so predictable....  And pitiful
    Where is the China Hate? Any app that steals data from people’s phones should be stopped. Privacy is one area that Apple excels at and as has been pointed out, this could allow the theft of banking details, passwords, etc. And it should be checked on every update as someone else pointed out. You just seem to be looking for some sort of excuse to attack someone as being racist. 
    edited June 2020 gatorguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 13
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    bulk001 said:
    ivanh said:
    this CCP spyware should be pulled off from app store completely!

    Ahhh!   Here come the right wing crazies spouting #ChinaHate -- and trying to distract from gross failures and corruption here in the U.S.

    They're so predictable....  And pitiful
    Where is the China Hate? Any app that steals data from people’s phones should be stopped. Privacy is one area that Apple excels at and as has been pointed out, this could allow the theft of banking details, passwords, etc. And it should be checked on every update as someone else pointed out. You just seem to be looking for some sort of excuse to attack someone as being racist. 

    Nice diversion!   Good Job!   Redirect from an idiot blaming a country for the actions of a private company to blaming the company.   Smooth!

    But, seriously, you are correct, that's what this thread was supposed to be about:  the actions of a private company.  Not global politics.
    bakedbananas
  • Reply 10 of 13
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Monstieur said:
    Apps should not be allowed to read the clipboard without prompting, unless initiated by the user through a text edit menu.
    It’s for clipboard managers, and there are quite few of them in the App Store. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 13
    barthrhbarthrh Posts: 119member
    Rayz2016 said:

    It’s for clipboard managers, and there are quite few of them in the App Store. 
    Makes sense; I get the use case. Ideally all apps should be blocked from non-explicit access to the clipboard except those specifically granted permission to do so.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 13
    quazarquazar Posts: 21member
    Apparently Google Libraries and Facebook Libraries do this also.

    its an action that should be blocked, unless allowed specific permission.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 13
    Why am I getting notifications that the AppleInsider app is doing the same thing??
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