“The policy states that TikTok ‘may collect biometric identifiers and biometric information’ from its users’ content, such as ‘faceprints and voiceprints,’ but does not provide any additional information on what constitutes a faceprint or voiceprint,” the letter proceeds. “In addition, the policy contains few details on how the data is used and with whom it is shared.”
As children and teenagers have increasingly turned to online apps for entertainment and communication amid the pandemic, the text continues, and account for “more than 32 percent of TikTok’s active users,” there’s a “magnified” need to assure that consumers’ personal data is secure.
And “given the seriousness of this issue,” the senators have called on the TikTok head to respond to six questions and information requests by next Wednesday, August 25th.
The first of these to-the-point inquiries asks that the former Goldman Sachs team member define what constitutes a “faceprint” and a “voiceprint,” besides specifying how long the information will be retained and whether it will be shared with third parties. “Please provide a list of all the entities (including parent organizations) that have access to the data collected by TikTok,” the senators also wrote.
At the time of this piece’s publishing, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew – formerly CFO of Xiaomi Technology – didn’t appear to have publicly responded to the senators’ inquiry. Apart from this inquiry, the aforementioned user-data lawsuits, and a child-protection investigation from the European Union, TikTok remains embroiled in a patent-infringement legal battle with competing video-sharing app Triller.