TikTok can collect users' biometric data according to its new privacy policy

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TikTok's newly updated privacy policy grants the company the right to collect biometric data from its users, and it isn't clear when or why it may begin doing this.

The biometric data in question would be users' faceprints and voiceprints, which would allow the company to attempt to identify users who upload videos to TikTok.

Collection details are included in TikTok's most recent privacy policy under a new section titled "Image and Audio Information" under the subhead "Information we collect automatically." TikTok released the new policy on Wednesday.

The policy goes on to state that the data collection is for "special video effects, for content moderation, for demographic classification, for content and ad recommendations, and for other non-personally-identifying operations."

When TechCrunch reached out to TikTok to ask what product developments required collecting biometric data, the company did not provide an answer. However, a representative did state that the app would ask for consent before collecting the sensitive data.

Yet the new policy may contradict the spokesperson's statement.

"We may collect biometric identifiers and biometric information as defined under US laws, such as faceprints and voiceprints, from your User Content," the policy reads. "Where required by law, we will seek any required permissions from you prior to any such collection."

TechCrunch points out that this could mean the company may only seek consent in places where it is "required by law." Only California, Illinois, New York, Texas, and Washington legally require consent before collecting biometric data.

This isn't the first time TikTok has been caught attempting to collect data from its users, either. In 2020, it was discovered that TikTok was among several popular apps that were caught reading the data on users' clipboards.

Eventually, TikTok stopped automatically reading users' clipboards when iOS 14 began alerting users to TikTok's penchant for snooping.

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