Here’s what to know about the data TikTok collects on its users. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File / AP Newsroom)
– purchase information, including payment card numbers, billing and shipping addresses
– a user's activities on other websites and apps or in stores, including the products or services purchased, online or in person
– file names and types
– keystroke patterns and rhythms
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– your IP address, mobile carrier, time zone settings, model of your device and operating system
– information about videos, images and audio
– objects and scenery that appear in your videos, including tourist attractions, shops or other points of interest
– biometric identifiers such as faceprints and voiceprints (this info allows TikTok to target videos, ads and political messages based on your habits and interests)
– cookies that collect, measure and analyze which web pages users view most often and how they interact with content
The company also acknowledged it's used very small images or pieces of data embedded in images and ads that can recognize the time and date a page is viewed and a description of that page.
"It is very much like giving them the keys to the kingdom," said Evan Greer, of the privacy watchdog Fight for the Future. "They are interested in your keystrokes. They're interested in which videos you watch and which ones you skip. "
Cybersecurity expert Will Gragido of NetWitness added: "Statistical information, demographic information, your likes, your dislikes, who your contacts are that are already on the platform."
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It also claimed TikTok data generally is stored in the U.S. and Singapore, but connects to servers in China, a major concern of Congress.
"Whatever app you download, you are trusting that company with putting software on your device, which could open you up to vulnerabilities and put you at risk," Greer said. "They are vacuuming up as much data as you are willing to give them access to."
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"Even though something looks benign or looks in some degree or another kind of cute or safe doesn't necessarily mean that it is," Gragido added. "It's a very, very real possibility that something like a TikTok has the potential to be very disruptive or lead to very disruptive acts and activities. Everything from misinformation, disinformation, espionage, and as we talked about the collection of data surveillance, monitoring, ultimately becoming a sort of Trojan horse in the modern-day sense."
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