The biometric data collection details are explained in the newly added section of ”Image and Audio Information”. You can find it under the heading ”Information we collect automatically” in the policy.
”We may collect biometric identifiers and biometric information as defined under the 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 means that many of TikTok’s filters need to identify users’ faces to apply their virtual makeup and greenscreen effects. TikTok’s automatic captions must collect audio for the app for transcribing it.
TikTok also mentioned that it might use the information to analyze demographics that help in recommending ads and content. Also, the new update shows that the collected information will be in general but focused on the existence of a face instead of other features. This means that the app may record your faceprints and voiceprints.
It is also worth noting that in February, TikTok paid a $92 million settlement for a lawsuit against them. The app was alleged for violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.
Previously, under the Trump administration, the federal government attempted to ban the Chinese app from operating in the USA. They call the app a threat to national security and privacy just because it was owned by a Chinese company. However, the company fought back against the ban and made it clear that it only stores the US users’ data in their Singapore and US servers.
The security experts believed that now TikTok poses no more security risks to an average American user but still everyone needs a clarification. TikTok hasn’t issued any official statement regarding its latest privacy update. But, with the language and tone, they’ve used it is obvious that they could potentially be collecting the biometric data before as well.