Colin Mc Hugo

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Colin Mc Hugo
Security Engineer Manager & CEO at Quantum Infinite Solutions Group Ltd.
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TikTok Quietly Updated Its Privacy Policy to Collect Users’ Biometric Data

June 5, 2021
TikTok Privacy Policy

Common short-form video-sharing service TikTok quietly revised its privateness coverage within the U.S., permitting it to routinely acquire biometric data equivalent to faceprints and voiceprints from the content material its customers submit on the platform.

The coverage change, first noticed by TechCrunch, went into impact on June 2. TikTok customers who reside within the European Financial Space (EEA), the U.Ok., Switzerland, and different geographies (excluding India) the place the service operates are exempted from the adjustments.

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“We might acquire biometric identifiers and biometric data as outlined below U.S. legal guidelines, equivalent to faceprints and voiceprints, out of your Consumer Content material. The place required by regulation, we’ll search any required permissions from you previous to any such assortment,” the ByteDance-owned firm said in a newly launched part referred to as “Picture and Audio Data.”

On high of this, the corporate’s privateness coverage additionally notes that it might acquire details about “the character of the audio, and the textual content of the phrases spoken in your Consumer Content material” in order to “allow particular video results, for content material moderation, for demographic classification, for content material and advert suggestions, and for different non-personally-identifying operations.”

TikTok Privacy Policy

Apart from not clearly defining the precise nature of biometrics being collected or providing a convincing purpose as to why this information gathering is important within the first place, the vaguely worded language might permit TikTok to amass such delicate information with out customers’ specific consent.

On condition that solely a handful of states within the U.S. — California, Illinois, New York, Texas, and Washington — have legal guidelines proscribing corporations from gathering such information, the transfer might imply that TikTok would not should ask permission from its customers in different states, as famous by TechCrunch. In different phrases, customers are consenting to have their biometric information collected just by agreeing to its phrases of service.

The revisions to its privateness coverage come months after TikTok agreed to pay $92 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that alleged the app violated the Illinois’ Biometric Data Privateness Act (BIPA) by clandestinely capturing biometric and private information from customers within the U.S. to focus on adverts with out assembly the knowledgeable consent necessities of the state regulation.

As a part of the settlement, TikTok complied to keep away from gathering or storing biometric data, biometric identifiers, geolocation, or GPS information until expressly disclosed in its privateness coverage. Seen on this gentle, it is potential that the adjustments are a results of the lawsuit settlement.

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