Before we dive into the update, let’s get some perspective…
In the past, TikTok has been under fire for doing some not-so-legal things:
- TikTok has been under fire for using the voice of Canadian actress Bev Standing…without her permission.
- In 2020, TikTok updated its internal video review policies for marketing purposes – in what can be seen as discriminatory. In this policy, they reduced the audience reach of videos by users who they deemed “uncool”, these included “ugly people,” “broke people,” “unkempt people,” and in a not-so-cool way…people with pot bellies. What did pot-bellies do to deserve such discrimination?
With the recent update that started being effective in June 2021, the TikTok app now has access to the biometric data of many of the countries in the world, except those that have strict privacy rules. The biometric and bio identifier data they can now collect includes faceprints and voiceprints, which again according to their policy may be shared with third parties “where necessary.”
Considering that TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a China-based company, all of its users are at risk of having their data shared with or extracted by the Chinese government. China’s National Intelligence Law, passed in 2017, allows the government to compel any Chinese company to provide practically any information it requests, including data on foreign citizens.
And now, the company is one of the main sponsors of the EURO2020 football tournament.
If you are a TikTok user, you should probably think twice about how much of your personal data (including biometric data) you want to share with a company that is compelled by Chinese law to hand over all its data to the government.