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TikTok’s Secret Data Harvesting Exposed

TikTok’s Secret Data Harvesting Exposed

Tick Tock, the popular short video app owned by China's ByteDance, has been found to engage in a banned data collecting process that harvested highly personalized information from its users for over a year, according to an investigation by The Wall Street Journal. In violation of Google's rules, Tick Tock collected MAC addresses, which can be used to gather highly personal identifying data on an individual. A MAC address is a globally unique identifier assigned to a device that can connect to the internet. This collected information was used to create highly personalized user profiles. Tick Tock circumvented Google's restrictions and concealed its tracking behind an added layer of encryption, indicating a deliberate effort to collect sensitive user data in secret. Tick Tock collected users' MAC addresses for 18 months, in violation of Google's rules, until November 2019.

This revelation comes just after US President Donald Trump issued an executive order to effectively ban TikTok in the US, citing concerns over national security. The order prohibits transactions with the app's Beijing-based parent company, ByteDance. Similar orders were also issued targeting WeChat and its Chinese parent company, Tencent.

TikTok has not responded to detailed questions from The Wall Street Journal, but a spokesperson stated that the company is committed to protecting the privacy and safety of its community. They claim to constantly update the app to address evolving security challenges and stated that the current version of TikTok does not collect MAC addresses.

Keywords:

  • TikTok
  • Secret data harvesting
  • MAC addresses
  • Violation of Google's rules
  • Encryption
  • User profiles
  • Executive order
  • National security
  • Privacy and safety
  • App updates

FAQ:

Q: What did The Wall Street Journal's investigation reveal about TikTok? A: The investigation revealed that TikTok, owned by ByteDance, engaged in a banned data collecting process that harvested highly personalized information from its users for over a year. It collected MAC addresses, which can be used to gather highly personal identifying data on an individual, violating Google's rules.

Q: What did TikTok do to conceal its data collection? A: Tick Tock circumvented Google's restrictions and concealed its tracking by implementing an additional layer of encryption. This indicates a deliberate effort to collect sensitive user data in secret.

Q: How long did TikTok collect MAC addresses? A: TikTok collected users' MAC addresses for 18 months until November 2019, violating Google's rules.

Q: What did President Donald Trump's executive order entail? A: President Trump's executive order effectively banned TikTok in the US and prohibited transactions with its parent company, ByteDance. The order was issued due to concerns over national security.

Q: Did TikTok respond to the allegations? A: TikTok did not respond to detailed questions from The Wall Street Journal, but a spokesperson stated that the company is committed to protecting user privacy and safety. They claimed to constantly update the app to address evolving security challenges and stated that the current version of TikTok does not collect MAC addresses.