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TikTok reveals it can collect biometric data of users in the US in its new privacy policy

TikTok has mentioned in an updated privacy policy section that it can collect data, including faceprints and voiceprints of users of the app in the US.

twitter-logoSarthak Dogra | June 4, 2021 | Updated 17:47 IST
(Image for representation: Reuters)

Highlights

  • TikTok confirms the data collection of biometric identifiers of its users in a new privacy policy.
  • The disclosure is meant to be an attempt to be more transparent about its privacy policies.
  • It can even collect voiceprints from users' content under the new policy.

The Short-video app TikTok has now confirmed that it will be collecting biometric data of its users in the US. TikTok clears that the data will include faceprint and voiceprints of users in a bid to be more transparent about its privacy policies as per the legal obligations in certain US states.

TikTok mentions the same in a new privacy policy section for US users. The newly added section, under the subheading "Images and Audio Information," clears that the app may collect biometric identifiers and information from its users' content. It will seek additional permissions from the user for this data collection only where "required by law."

The company further shares details on the exact sort of data collection it will conduct. It states in its privacy policy that information collected by TikTok may include the identification of "objects and scenery that appear." It can also seek the "existence and location" of the face and body features and attributes within an image. As for audio, it can collect the data to identify the nature of the audio, "and the text of the words spoken in your User Content."

At present, TikTok does not support any features that require such biometric identification. It might, however, use this data to support future innovations in the app, like those related to automatic captions or simply improving its filters.

TikTok's recent disclosure follows the settlement of a class-action lawsuit against the firm for privacy violations in February this year. The lawsuit blamed TikTok for collecting "highly sensitive personal data" that enabled tracking of users and in turn helped with its target advertising.

The Chinese social media major agreed to pay $92 million in the settlement. Prior to this, the company faced a $1.1 million class-action lawsuit settlement in 2019 over privacy violations against children. The lawsuit alleged that the company collected and distributed children's data through its app, named Musical.ly at the time, for commercial gains.

Also read: | After Apple, Google will now allow users to opt out of personalised ads

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