December 03, 2019

US College Student Files Class Action Lawsuit Accusing TikTok Of Gathering Biometric User Data, Violating Privacy

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


A college student from Palo Alto in the US has accused Chinese short video platform TikTok of gathering private user data and sending it to servers in China, in a class action law suit.

College student Misty Hong has accused TikTok and its parent company ByteDance of neglecting their duty to handle user data with care and “knowingly violating” a series of laws governing data gathering and the right to privacy.

The lawsuit has accused ByteDance of taking user content such as draft videos without their consent and having “ambiguous” privacy policies. It has raised concerns that data gathered by TikTok could be used to identify, profile as well as track users in the US.

TikTok videos often include close-ups of people's faces, thus, allowing the company to gather biometric data of its users, according to the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, once a user shoots a video and clicks the ‘next’ button, videos are transferred to various domains without their knowledge. This happens before even before users save or post a video on the app, the lawsuit has stated.

The development has come days after TikTok apologized and restored the account of a US teenager, which was blocked after she posted a video criticizing the Chinese government for its treatment of Uighur Muslims.

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