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TikTok updates US privacy policy to collect ‘faceprints and voiceprints’ (but won’t explain what they are)

TikTok has up to date its privacy policy in the US to notify customers that the app may, in future, collect new kinds of biometric info together with “faceprints and voiceprints.” However when reached by The Verge, TikTok was unable to explain what kinds of knowledge these phrases referred to, or why the app may want to entry this info within the first place.

The corporate’s privacy policy was up to date on June 2nd, as spotted by TechCrunch. (An archived model of the outdated policy will be read here.) The brand new policy lays out in some element the methods by which the TikTok app now has permission to analyze customers’ content material.

The policy states:

As is usually the case with privacy insurance policies, there’s a whole lot of conflation right here between outcomes that customers are most likely high quality with (like including video results) and outcomes they may suppose are extra invasive (like advert concentrating on and “demographic classification.”) There’s additionally a whole lot of broad language utilized in order to cowl any future updates TikTok may add to the platform.

The brand new privacy policy is extra express that the app can now collect biometric knowledge — that’s, the measurement of bodily traits, together with the aforementioned “faceprints and voiceprints.” The policy says TikTok will search consent from customers earlier than accumulating this info, however solely when it’s required to accomplish that by the legislation. As TechCrunch notes, this doesn’t imply an terrible lot within the US, provided that solely a few states (together with Illinois, Texas, and California) supply these kinds of authorized protections. And certainly, TikTok may suppose that agreeing to its phrases of service constitutes all of the consent it should want.

It’s potential that the adjustments to TikTok’s privacy policy are a response to a current nationwide class motion lawsuit towards the corporate, by which it agreed to pay $92 million to claimants alleging a wide range of privacy violations. As we reported on the case in February: “As a part of the settlement, TikTok has agreed to keep away from a number of behaviors that might compromise consumer privacy until it particularly discloses these behaviors in its privacy policy.” When requested if these adjustments had been a response to the category motion lawsuit, although, TikTok declined to touch upon the document.

In response to varied questions on what knowledge the corporate is now accumulating on customers, the way it defines “faceprints and voiceprints,” what knowledge it would collect sooner or later, and what it would do with that info, a spokesperson stated solely: “As a part of our ongoing dedication to transparency, we just lately up to date our Privacy Policy to present extra readability on the knowledge we might collect.”

There’s extra info, sure, however nonetheless not a whole lot of readability. For an app that has struggled with varied privacy points (the notion of which is usually exacerbated by political paranoia), it appears there’s extra work but to do.

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