TikTok Sued for Harvesting and sending user data to China

04 Décembre, 2019, 18:30 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • The allegations may deepen legal troubles in the US for TikTok

Hong says she downloaded TikTok in either March or April, but never knowingly created an account.

The short video making app, TikTok, is facing a lawsuit charge which claims that it harvests users' data and sends it back to China.

Last week, a consumer class action lawsuit was filed against TikTok in California, USA.

"TikTok also has surreptitiously taken user content, such as draft videos never intended for publication, without user knowledge or consent", the lawsuit alleges. Hong's suit, filed Wednesday in California federal court, claims TikTok and parent company ByteDance covertly "vacuumed up and transferred to servers in China vast quantities of private and personally identifiable user data".

Hong alleges that the app retrieved her data without permission - including videos that she had created but not shared online - and transferred them to servers run by companies that cooperate with the Chinese government.

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This arrives after a user in New Jersey was locked out of her TikTok account after posting a video spreading awareness of Beijing's mass detention of Uighurs in Xinjiang. Such data included biometric information and the websites she visited on her phone.

The suit, cited by the Daily Beast, particularly alleges that ByteDance used Musical.ly - the latter purchased in November 2017 for nearly $1 billion and later dubbed TikTok - to secretly gather and send to Beijing user geotags, age, private messages, phone numbers, contacts, gender, browsing history, cell-phone serial numbers, and IP addresses.

TikTok has said in recent weeks that it stores its U.S. user data within the country and does not censor political content in line with Beijing's instructions.

TikTok has repeatedly said that the Chinese government has no access to the company's user information, because the social media giant reportedly stores US user data in Virginia, with some backup in Singapore. It raises concerns that data gathered by TikTok could be used to identify, profile and track users in the US, CNET reported on Monday.

Earlier this year, the United States government opened a national security investigation into ByteDance's acquisition of social media app Musical.ly, which has since been rebranded as TikTok.

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