TikTok tells senators others are collecting more data. But is this kind of a numbers game?

An executive with the video social media platform TikTok declined to be cornered by U.S. senators over questions regarding the biometric identification of his subscribers during a hearing on Tuesday.

Michael Beckerman, head of TikTok’s public policy unit, offered non-responses and ambiguities about facial and voice prints and the like, according to TechCrunch.

ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TIC Tac, this summer changed the platform’s privacy policy to say that it reserves the right to collect this and other biometric data.

Beckerman would have said Senators as outsiders looking at social media said TikTok collects less subscriber data than its competitors, implying that fewer credentials collected mean more privacy for people.

However, the Wall Street Journal showed yesterday how a single behavior online can very quickly create a profile of subscribers so precise that it scares them.

a investigation by the Journal has shown that by simply noting which video clips a person is stopping for and how long the pause lasts, TikTok algorithms can determine what interests a person.

The algorithm can sometimes do this in a matter of minutes and without any other data from or about a subscriber.

Content providers and government watchers globally use lists of similar identification techniques.

It is the argument used by Beckerman that fewer biometric tools are better for privacy that is noteworthy. That assumption, combined with the two steps he took whenever a senator asked for details about TikTok’s data collection practices, makes privacy advocates more aggressive in their questioning.

This summer, two senators raised questions about TikTok’s biometrics policy.

Articles topics

behavioral biometrics | biometric data | biometrics | children | China | data collection | facial recognition | mobile application | confidentiality | social media | US Government | voice prints

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