Demanding An Explanation
It may be noted that should the Senators have their way, TikTok will be forced to explain its new plans, especially since they have been called out for being rather vague. Senators Amy Klobuchar and John Thune sent a letter to TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew, highlighting how the new development has left them “alarmed.” The new policy will allow TikTok to collect user biometrics automatically, and the data can potentially include “physical and behavioural characteristics” from videos that are posted by users.
Excessive Collection Of Data?
In their letter, the Senators demand that TikTok fully explain what it means by “voiceprints and faceprints,” and also shed light on how long the data will be retained, as well as the purpose for which it plans to use the collected data. Also mentioned in the letter are questions about whether or not data is being collected from users under 18, and about whether the company makes any inferences based on the data. A list of all third parties having access to the data has also bene sought.
The company has not yet responded to the letter, which claims that user privacy has become even more important amid the pandemic. TikTok has until August 25 to respond to the questions.
Earlier this year, the Chinese firm had to shell out $92 million in order to settle a class-action suit alleging it of unlawfully collecting its users’ biometric data, and shading the same with third parties. In 2019 as well, it had been slammed with a fine of $5.7 million by the FTC, over allegations of violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).