Warning over use of TikTok due to security and privacy concerns

There are concerns over how it protects customer data.

Warning over use of TikTok due to security and privacy concerns iStock

US lawmakers are being urged not to use or download TikTok due to security and privacy concerns.

Members of Congress have been warned against using the social media platform, with the app deemed to be a “high-risk” to users.

TikTok was launched by Chinese technology company ByteDance in 2016, before it was made worldwide in 2018.

The warning was issued by the U.S. House of Representatives Chief Administrative Officer.

In an advisory released on Wednesday, Catherine Szpindor discouraged politicians in the U.S. from using the app.

She cited a lack of transparency in how TikTok protects its customer data, its requirement of excessive permissions and potential security risks involved with its use.

Szpindor also highlighted that the app is known to store users’ data location, photos and other personally identifiable information in servers located in China and potentially mined for commercial and private purposes.

In the advisory, Szpindor noted that TikTok “actively harvests” content for identifiable data, and it may collect “biometric identifiers, including “faceprints” and “voiceprints” from videos that users upload.

It also noted that TikTok policy has stated that it automatically collects information about users’ devices, including location data on SIM card and IP addresses, and GPs.

The advisory further warned of the risks of TikTok potentially being able to obtain a range of device data, including Wi-Fi network name, device serial number, subscription information, and SIM card serial number.

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