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TikTok, New Privacy Storm: Now it records our voice and our face

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TikTok is about to change the privacy policy in the US, but the proposal has already sparked heavy criticism: why the Chinese app records our biometric data?

They change the rules for the privacy of TikTok. With the acceptance of the new policy, the application will be able to collect some important biometric data, by recording the voice and face of users. And, among TikTok users, many are teenagers and preteens. The information is just some of the information included in the list available in the documentation, including the geolocation via SIM card, IP address, and GPS.

Reached by the information website TechCrunch, TikTok did not disclose which features under development may need these elements but, she pointed out, that users will be notified when the actual collection is introduced. Voice and face, however, are not the only registered peculiarities; as can be seen from the policy, even surrounding objects and environments, locations and bodily connotations may end up in the database of the company, like what already happens with other social networks including Instagram, for example for the creation of captions for those with visual disabilities.

At least in part, users should be reassured by the confirmation that what is recorded will not be used for operations that will allow identification, but exclusively for content moderation, demographic classification, recommendations, and the like.

TikTok, What Do The Laws Say?

The privacy policy, currently in force for those who download the app from stores connected to the United States, and not in Europe where the regulation on the protection of personal data  (GDPR) is more stringent, remains obscure in certain aspects. Although it specifies that all the details will be registered according to the regulations in force in the nation and the members notified where required by law, there are not many states that can boast an effective system of this type.

The revelation comes, in any case, after a 92 million dollar agreement following a class action taken in May 2020, caused by the violation of the Biometric Information Privacy Act of the state of Illinois, a code dedicated to the processing and management of these elements. For the occasion, there were more than 20 complaints against the Chinese company for having collected and shared the biometric information of users without their consent, all starting from the use of facial filters present on the application.

TikTok, The Choice As a Double-Edged Sword?

It could therefore prove to be a boomerang for the social network dedicated to short videos, especially in light of the fuss that enveloped the company during the Trump administration, when the government tried to block the operation of the app in the entire US area.

Back then, the decisive intervention that allowed the situation to be brought back into the ranks was the decision to keep the data of American users on the territory of the stars and stripes, as well as in the data centers in Singapore. In this way, the possibility of conveying even a single byte to China, the land of origin of the owner of TikTok ByteDance, was eliminated in one fell swoop, and the risk of Americans saying goodbye to one of the most popular apps by young people.

Finally, it should be noted that WhatsApp in recent months has been overwhelmed by very heavy criticisms concerning the management of privacy for much less: the new Privacy Policy, now temporarily set aside, only provided for the sharing of a few anonymous information between WhatsApp and Facebook.

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