TikTok changed its Terms of Service so it can collect a lot of sensitive data, including biometric identifiers and other biometric information, although it remains unclear what it plans to do with the data.
The change in the Terms of Service has been a quiet one as the company didn’t announce anything beforehand. This is particularly notable as users will agree to the collection of data by accepting the new conditions. And the collection of data doesn’t stop there.
“We may collect information about the images and audio that are a part of your User Content, such as identifying the objects and scenery that appear, the existence and location within an image of face and body features and attributes, the nature of the audio, and the text of the words spoken in your User Content,” says the company the Terms of Service.
“We may collect biometric identifiers and biometric information as defined under 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,” the company said.
It’s not certain how the company will ask for that permission, but one thing is clear. The new terms are not pushed everywhere in the world — only where the legislation allows it. For example, residents of the European Economic Area (EEA), the United Kingdom, or Switzerland are exempt from these changes.
While the reason for the change in data collection is now clear, the company says it will use any collected information in targeted ads and share it with business partners, companies in the same group as TikTok, content moderation services, measurement providers, advertisers and analytics providers.
It’s also worth mentioning that TikTok recently settled a lawsuit in Illinois for violating the Biometric Information Privacy Act in that state.