TikTok new privacy update allows collection of faceprint and voiceprints in the U.S

As of June 2, the popular video app, TikTok has updated its privacy policy. And for TikTok users in the United States, the social media platform has allowed itself to automatically collect their biometric “identifiers and information” which means faceprints and voiceprints data. However, the company mentioned that it will ask for user’s permission to collect their biometric data.


TikTok will take users’ permission to collect their Face and voiceprints

Listed in ‘Image and Audio Information’ under ‘Information we collect automatically’, the new policy term reads:

We may collect information about the images and audio that are a part of your User Content, such as identifying the objects and scenery that appear, the existence and location within an image of face and body features and attributes, the nature of the audio, and the text of the words spoken in your User Content. We may collect this information to enable special video effects, for content moderation, for demographic classification, for content and ad recommendations, and for other non-personally-identifying operations.

We may collect biometric identifiers and biometric information as defined under US laws, such as faceprints and voiceprints, from your User Content. Where required by law, we will seek any required permissions from you prior to any such collection.


The app recently introduced auto-caption and AR effects, may biometric data is used for them. Although it may appear to be an invasion of users’ privacy, TikTok has been collecting far more personal data including faceprint and voiceprint. TechCrunch mentions that the new disclaimer is added after a huge court settlement.

“It is worth noting, however, that the new disclosure about biometric data collection follows a $92 million settlement in a class action lawsuit against TikTok, originally filed in May 2020, over the social media app’s violation of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act. The consolidated suit included more than 20 separate cases filed against TikTok over the platform’s collection and sharing of the personal and biometric information without user consent. Specifically, this involved the use of facial filter technology for special effects.

In that context, TikTok’s legal team may have wanted to quickly cover themselves from future lawsuits by adding a clause that permits the app to collect personal biometric data.”

Having said that, the new privacy terms might get the app in trouble with the U.S government as the threat of ban is still lurking in the United Stated even under President Joe Biden’s administration. Former President Donal Trump called the Chinese app risk to national security and passed executive orders to ban the app.

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