TikTok can collect users' biometric data according to its new privacy policy

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TikTok's newly updated privacy policy grants the company the right to collect biometric data from its users, and it isn't clear when or why it may begin doing this.




The biometric data in question would be users' faceprints and voiceprints, which would allow the company to attempt to identify users who upload videos to TikTok.

Collection details are included in TikTok's most recent privacy policy under a new section titled "Image and Audio Information" under the subhead "Information we collect automatically." TikTok released the new policy on Wednesday.

The policy goes on to state that the data collection is for "special video effects, for content moderation, for demographic classification, for content and ad recommendations, and for other non-personally-identifying operations."

When TechCrunch reached out to TikTok to ask what product developments required collecting biometric data, the company did not provide an answer. However, a representative did state that the app would ask for consent before collecting the sensitive data.

Yet the new policy may contradict the spokesperson's statement.

"We may collect biometric identifiers and biometric information as defined under US laws, such as faceprints and voiceprints, from your User Content," the policy reads. "Where required by law, we will seek any required permissions from you prior to any such collection."

TechCrunch points out that this could mean the company may only seek consent in places where it is "required by law." Only California, Illinois, New York, Texas, and Washington legally require consent before collecting biometric data.

This isn't the first time TikTok has been caught attempting to collect data from its users, either. In 2020, it was discovered that TikTok was among several popular apps that were caught reading the data on users' clipboards.

Eventually, TikTok stopped automatically reading users' clipboards when iOS 14 began alerting users to TikTok's penchant for snooping.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    Cesar Battistini MazieroCesar Battistini Maziero Posts: 254unconfirmed, member
    Creepy! Will keep watching compilations on YouTube hahahahaha
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 7
    pujones1pujones1 Posts: 222member
    Wow, wow, wow!

    Trump might have been right on this one. Why would they need biometric data if not to use it maliciously??? Another “reading your clipboard” fiasco? Most people will not care unfortunately. I wonder if that is spelled out in plain English where it’s required “by law”? I don’t use the app at all and never will but damn. Hope this story gets picked up by news agencies and more people become aware. 

    I think it’s time for a federal law against biometric data collection to protect those in states which don’t have protections in place. 
    patchythepiratebaconstangbyronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 7
    I have said this before, but I’ll say it again. The CCP has a reasonable dataset of Asian faces for their biometric tracking but not for any other race. So by enabling the collection of a massive dataset of these other nationalities means they will be able to more easily track foreign nationals within their borders. It also means that if they take over another country, they can quickly implement the same social tracking system to control the population.
    williamlondonGabyargonautwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 7
    amar99amar99 Posts: 122member
    There was a time when the idea of governments being out to collect every last bit of personal data they can -- not always for good purposes -- would have been called a cray conspiracy theory. I think we're well past that point now that potential surveillance tools are in the hands of most people (their own phones). As the old "boiling a frog" analogy goes, nobody seems to care since it's been a gradual introduction, and it's been candy-coated as a self-gratifying experience (social media self-absorption). This is preparing the world for a future more dystopian than people currently imagine is possible. Unfortunately, countries like China demonstrate that it is not only possible, but already well on its way. The US isn't far behind in some sense, we'll see what the next 10 to 20 years bring.
    edited June 2021 williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 7
    viclauyycviclauyyc Posts: 822member
    I have said this before, but I’ll say it again. The CCP has a reasonable dataset of Asian faces for their biometric tracking but not for any other race. So by enabling the collection of a massive dataset of these other nationalities means they will be able to more easily track foreign nationals within their borders. It also means that if they take over another country, they can quickly implement the same social tracking system to control the population.
    Honestly, I believe biometric data from different race/countries is already available for sale. There are bot that is actively searching different social media as we speaking. That is why I quit FB and not posting on other social media.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 7
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,943member
    So far all five comments have been against user biometric tracking. How nice to see that. I'm just curious why none of the pro-CCP posters have posted here yet. Is this an indefensible subject for them?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 7
    bestkeptsecretbestkeptsecret Posts: 4,144member
    So far all five comments have been against user biometric tracking. How nice to see that. I'm just curious why none of the pro-CCP posters have posted here yet. Is this an indefensible subject for them?
    Yes, I've been waiting for @GeorgeBMac's take on this. 
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