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TikTok has being accused of violating the privacy of the biometric data of its users

Meaning every data related to human features

TikTok has being accused of violating the privacy of the biometric data of its users Meaning every data related to human features

Just a few days after the news that Kevin Mayer (the Walt Disney's manager that was responsible for the success of Disney+) has been nominated as CEO of ByteDance (the parent company owning TikTok), the most popular social media in the world (and in history) has to face some lawsuits with the accuse of violation of the privacy laws about biometric data (not only faceprints but also fingerprints, voices, retina and iris patterns and more sensitive data). 

In the past few days, many courts in the United States have filed a lawsuit against the Chinese app accusing it of having collected and shared with third parties some of the sensitive biometric data of its users, most of which are also underaged. Given the statement by FTC (Federal Trade Commission), the app is being accused of scanning users' faces (in order to enable them to access in and use filters and effects), but failing to notify the collection of their biometric data (specifically, their faceprints). Furthermore, the app is accused of sharing these data with third parties without asking each individual's (or their legal guardian's) written consent. 

In this specific case, TikTok and its parent company ByteDance are facing a lawsuit filed by Molly Janik, the legal guardian of a 17 years old user, accusing it of violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, Illinois' privacy laws that forbid any private entity from capturing and storing biometric information without consent. To confirm these accusals, at least two other, similar lawsuits have also been filed in Illinois, and one has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. last year, TikTok was hit with another children's privacy lawsuit by California and Illinois residents and it settled it up by paying ou$ 1.1 million. 

TikTok is an unprecedented success in the industry of social media. In the last months, mostly because of the lockdown, its popularity reached the highest numbers ever seen in terms of downloads: in the first trimester of 2020 have been reported more than 315 million downloads (the highest number ever recorded by an app) and in the past few days it has overcome 2 billion downloads on a global scale. To be honest, these numbers are also underestimated because it does not include the downloads from Android stores different from Google Play, that is not available in China. Only in the US, the app has been downloaded 165 million times. 

We take privacy seriously and are committed to helping ensure that TikTok continues to be a safe and entertaining community for our users”, stated a a spokesman for the company; "TikTok is firmly committed to safeguarding the data of its users, especially our younger users. Although we disagree with much of what is alleged in the complaint, we have been working with the parties involved and are pleased to have come to a resolution of the issues."