Tiktok’s New Privacy Policy Allows Tiktok to Collect Biometric Data, Including “Face and Voice Prints”

TikTok quietly changed its privacy policy in the United States this week to notify users that it may start collecting “face and voice prints” and other biometric data.

The app did not specify what the data would be used for, but said it would seek permission first, “when required by law.”

The update comes just three months after TikTok paid more than $ 90 million to settle a class action lawsuit claiming it secretly recorded millions of facial features of limbs and other biomarkers.

TikTok is said to have 100 million users in the United States alone.

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TikTok has updated its privacy policy to inform US users that it can register “facial and voice print” and other unique biometric data. Pictured: Grimes in a recent TikTok video

An update to TikTok’s privacy policy on Wednesday announced that the popular app “may collect biometric identifiers and biometric information” from user videos.

Some applications collect biometric data to target advertisements or improve accessibility features, TechCrunch reported, like describing an Instagram photo or adding automated captions.

TikTok recently paid $ 92 million to settle a lawsuit claiming it violated Illinois' strict biometric laws requiring consent before tracking user data.  The privacy policy update may be a direct result of the lawsuit

TikTok recently paid $ 92 million to settle a lawsuit claiming it violated Illinois’ strict biometric laws requiring consent before tracking user data. The privacy policy update may be a direct result of the lawsuit

It can also help with face filters and augmented reality effects.

The data could include “the identification of objects and landscapes that appear, the existence and location in an image of features and attributes of the face and body, the nature of the audio and the text of the words spoken”, the company said.

But it could also include personal biomarkers, such as “facial prints and voice prints,” TikTok added, without clearly defining those terms.

Only a handful of states have biometric privacy laws, including Illinois, California, New York, Texas, and Washington, suggesting that users in other states may not be notified if their biometrics are being collected.

Although the policy states that TikTok will notify users if it begins collecting biometric data, Initiated points out that the update is in a section titled “Information We Collect Automatically”, suggesting that it may already be collecting the information.

As password protection becomes increasingly nebulous, many businesses are turning to unique physical characteristics, such as <a class=fingerprints, voiceprints, and other markers, for security purposes. Even the shape of your face and nose can be used to identify you” class=”blkBorder img-share” style=”max-width:100%” />

As password protection becomes increasingly nebulous, many businesses are turning to unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints, voiceprints, and other markers, for security purposes. Even the shape of your face and nose can be used to identify you

Users reported receiving several pop-up messages informing them of the privacy policy update, according to TechCrunch, but some complained that the page was not available when they tried to read it.

The policy appears to be updated only in the United States. Privacy regulations are much stricter in Europe and Asia.

In 2020, the White House attempted to ban TikTok in the United States, claiming its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, posed a threat to national security.

A court injunction blocked the ban from going into effect, although the Trump administration has appealed the decision.

President Biden on Friday signed an executive order prohibiting Americans from investing in some 59 Chinese companies that the administration says have ties to the Chinese military and the country’s surveillance industry.

His administration, however, has not taken an official position on TikTok.

In February, TikTok paid $ 92 million to settle a class action lawsuit claiming it violated Illinois’ biometric privacy law, one of the strictest in the country.

Illinois law requires companies to obtain explicit permission before collecting biometric data, but the plaintiffs alleged that TikTok used algorithms to identify the gender, age and ethnicity of users, according to at the BBC, and sent the information to China.

Denying any wrongdoing, TikTok said it was managing to avoid a protracted trial.

Then-President Trump tried to ban TikTok in the United States last year, claiming the Beijing-owned company posed a threat to national security

Then-President Trump tried to ban TikTok in the United States last year, claiming the Beijing-owned company posed a threat to national security

“While we disagree with the claims, rather than going through lengthy litigation, we would like to focus our efforts on creating a safe and joyful experience for the TikTok community,” the company said in a statement. communicated.

It is possible that Wednesday’s update was a direct result of the trial.

TikTok did not respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com.

Social media platforms have already fallen into hot water to collect biometric data: In 2015, Facebook users in Illinois accused the platform of violating state biometric privacy law. by collecting biometric data.

Facebook reportedly accomplished this through its “Tag Suggestions” feature, which allowed users to recognize their Facebook friends from previously uploaded photos.

Facebook paid $ 650 million in the case but, five years later, was the victim of another class action lawsuit claiming it had used the same tool on Instagram to collect the biometrics of over a million people. users without their knowledge or consent.

In a statement to DailyMail.com at the time, a Facebook spokesperson said the claims were false and Instagram was not using the facial recognition services offered on Facebook.

According to Instagram’s data policy, “If we introduce facial recognition technology into your Instagram experience, we’ll let you know first, and you will have control over whether we use that technology for you.”

In 2019, security firm Suprema revealed that a massive data breach exposed the biometric information of millions of people, including their fingerprints and facial scans.

The private data was found on a free site and contained sensitive information about a system used by banks, police and government offices, as well as thousands of other businesses.

“This could be used in a wide range of criminal activities that would be disastrous both for the businesses and organizations involved, as well as their employees or customers,” the privacy website VPNMentor wrote in an article on the discovery.

“It’s one thing that your password cracked – passwords can be changed and replaced,” Etienne Greeff, technical director of cybersecurity service provider SecureData, told MailOnline.

“But what happens when your biometrics are hacked? You cannot change your voice; you cannot replace your eyes and you cannot reset your fingerprints. These things are constant, permanent, and contain genetic data that is unique to you.

WHAT IS BEHAVIORAL BIOMETRY?

Physical biometrics, such as fingerprints, facial recognition, and retinal scans, are currently more commonly used for security purposes.

However, behavioral biometrics – which includes things like the way you walk – are able to capture unique things about a person’s behavior and movements.

They also include things like voice tagging and signature analysis.

Researchers at the University of Manchester have developed an AI biometric verification system that measures an individual’s gait or gait pattern.

This non-intrusive technique can successfully check people with 99.3% accuracy after stepping on a pressure pad on the floor – and they don’t even have to take their shoes off.

Behavioral biometrics are already used for authentication in financial institutions and businesses.

Once people provide their biometric data, the AI ​​selects specific data points that it processes using an algorithm.

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