TikTok Allegedly Tracked Android User Data Despite Google’s Privacy Features

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Short-video app TikTok has already faced intense scrutiny from the government of the US due to concerns related to potential Chinese spying. In the meantime, it has sidestepped Google privacy policy and collected user-specific data from Android devices. The app has tracked users without letting them opt out, claims a report.

TikTok Allegedly Tracked Android User Data

 

The White House has grown wary of TikTok claiming that the app is selling American user data to the government of China. Reportedly, TikTok has been stating that it has and never did the same. The company spokesperson claims that they have been updating the app to meet the evolving security challenges and that the latest version of the app does not collect MAC addresses. Also, it denies sharing user data with the Chinese government.

TikTok Collects User Data

As per a report by the Wall Street Journal, the TikTok app was tracking the MAC addresses, which are the hardware identifiers for networked devices of Android users for a minimum of 15 months despite the policies and systems of Google. Reportedly, a well-known workaround security hole to acquire the data and unusual extra layer of encryption.

A 12-digit code called "media access control" (MAC) is the data has been taken from the Android smartphones, claims the report. Each MAC address is unique and has standard in all internet-ready electronic devices. MAC addresses are very effective for apps trying to drive targeted ads as they cannot be reset or changed.

The MAC addresses are considered by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to be personally identifiable details. Even a 2018 report by AppCensus, a mobile-app firm that analyses companies' privacy policies.

In 2013, Apple came up with a way to protect its devices' MAC addresses and also Google did the same in 2015 for Android devices. However, TikTok has managed to access the back door and obtain the MAC address with a workaround.

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