TikTok allows itself to collect biometric data on US users
The change in policy contains a section that says the social video app "may collect biometric identifiers and biometric information" from its users’ content. "This includes things like “faceprints and voiceprints,” the policy explained.
The biometric data collection details were introduced in the newly added section, “Image and Audio Information,” found under the heading of “Information we collect automatically” in the policy.
The first part of the new section explains that TikTok may collect information about the images and audio that are in users’ 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.”
Other social networks do object recognition on images you upload to power accessibility features as well as for ad targeting purposes.
The second part of the section said that it “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.”
It doesn’t explain, as the first section, why TikTok needs this data. It doesn’t define the terms “faceprints” or “voiceprints.” It also does not specify how it will seek the required permissions.
The update comes at a time when TikTok was regaining the trust of US users and Washington. Under the Trump administration a full ban was imposed on the app over concerns that it was passing information it collected from users to the Chinese government.
The company denied such claims and said it had not shared user data with the Chinese government nor censored content, despite being owned by Beijing-based ByteDance. And it said it would never do so, if asked.