TikTok Denies Biometric Data Collection Of Users In The US Irrespective Of Its Privacy Policy

TikTok is fighting back against the allegations coming its way regarding the collection of American users’ biometric data.

Last year, the popular short video app made heads turn when it opted to alter its privacy policy. The decision was taken because it felt the need to grab hold of users’ biometric data now. This included the likes of both voiceprints as well as faceprints.

At that time, some critics were skeptical about the move, and the app also failed to outline in detail why it was opting to behave this way in the first place. They even failed to adequately respond at the Senate hearing that took place last year in October.

Today, the mega tech firm was seen being questioned about why it was involved in such practices for collecting data of Americans again. Meanwhile, the rest of the hearing was more related to the impact the app’s actions can have on the country’s homeland security.

Before this, the app’s privacy policy entailed more changes related to a brand new section. It had to do with both image and audio data that came under the section titled, ‘we collect’ user information automatically.

This is where we get plenty of information on the types of pictures and audio recordings obtained. Common examples include the likes of biometric identifiers and other information as was under American law.

While the terms and language being used to explain were extremely vague for our and many other people’s understanding, one thing is for sure. It failed to shed light on why the information was being collected in the first place and in what manner it would be further distributed to others.

TikTok’s leading officials were present in court today to explain more on the matter, and then a very strong question popped up. Did the app share this information with anyone present in China or not?

Another question that was asked related to if it was actually possible to witness the biometric data while being located in China. Interestingly, the answers that came about were not simple yes or no. They were more related to explaining the platform’s ways of dealing with such sensitive types of data.

TikTok said it never used any form of body or face recognition. At the same time, it shunned allegations of using voice and audio data that could be used to outline a certain individual clearly.

A lot of the discussions then revolved around how such data collection methods were related to providing video effects. Hence, it was stored locally across the users’ own devices, and then it was eliminated and not further passed on.

To put it simply, the executive from TikTok mentioned how ByteDance workers could never gain access to this type of data while sitting miles away in China. It’s a completely technical process, and the platform entails so many filters, so understanding how every single thing works isn’t easy and would need technical expertise.

The first time the lack of clarity regarding the company’s biometrics data stemmed was in April of this year. Many experts felt one of the platform’s new trends involved getting users up close and personal to the camera and then taking on a filter that reveals the intricate details of their eyes.

But that’s not the only thing that was discussed and questioned during today’s hearing. There were plenty of questions on whether or not the application was busy tracking down users’ keystrokes.

It came down from a recent private researcher’s finding that was made public last month. The researcher accused the app of adding codes that would enable keylogging. The app denied it and said that the sole purpose was nothing malicious but to assist with debugging and issues of troubleshooting.


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