Oh, how much has been said about TikTok lately. These are scandals with bans on the publication of “ugly people”, but scandals related to the propaganda of violence or winding up the rating on Google Play. Now in many countries they say that the service collects too much information and threatens national security. Some of the most recent are attempts at a ban in the US and an investigation in France. Now journalists are adding fuel to the fire by telling how TikTok also monitors its users, bypassing the rules of Google Play for several months. How do they do it?
Almost everyone uses it, but that's all he needs.
How TikTok is following people
A new report from The Wall Street Journal claims that TikTok has been collecting users' MAC addresses Android for several months now. In fact, applications have the right to collect user data in order to provide their work and offer some kind of search results. However, users should be given the right to opt out of such data collection. In 2015, Google even changed its in-store app policy. Now applications are formally prohibited from collecting unnecessary data about users. Developers have access to only the most essential basic functions.
According to the publication's report, TikTok has managed to find a workaround regarding the Google Play policy. This allows him to collect information about the unique identifier of his users without having to register them. That is, the application never notifies users about this, but still collects their MAC addresses.
This information about a clear violation of TikTok's Google Play policy came at the most opportune time. In early August, US President Donald Trump announced the possible blocking of the TikTok app in the US. True, the situation with the potential purchase of the service by someone from the industry monsters, like Apple, Microsoft and Twitter is still not completely clear.
Even we have our own TikTok. Join if you use.
Such a combination of circumstances may not only give rise to thoughts about someone's interest in such a development of events. It can also be a pure coincidence that will push the development of events in the right direction for someone. However, users' Mac addresses Android were reportedly collected for at least 15 months. Although, even a one-time collection of data without the knowledge of their owner is already bad.
How long has TikTok been spying on users
Despite such a long period of data collection, it seems that now the application has stopped doing this. It could stop this practice after the update, which was released on November 18 last year.
Even if TikTok and ByteDance, which owns the service, stopped collecting data, this does not mean that it will be easy for them to survive the period of possible ban in the United States. If such a large car spins, it will be quite difficult to stop it. Especially if the fact of illegal data collection (albeit in the past) is confirmed.
TikTok is too popular right now.
As the report says, users have never been able to influence the data collection process, since the application started its activity already at the first launch and immediately after it was launched.
Other data, such as the advertising ID of the device, was also collected by TikTok from users Android along with MAC addresses. WSJ also notes that its data collection has been hidden with an added layer of encryption.
It is believed that encryption has no real security advantage for TikTok. Instead, it was most likely purposely created to hide its data collection activities.
Is it worth worrying about data collection
On the one hand, collecting data is not a big problem, since not all of them carry some kind of semantic load. Personally, I have questions at the moment when applications do not want to work, if I do not give them access to the data that they generally do not need. When they start collecting data on the sly, it really starts to strain me a little.
The question is, why do they need this and will they start using it at their own discretion after such an underground collection of data. They can already use them as they need – it even does Google – but when I was warned about this, it turns out somehow more honest, or something.
TikTok is Chinese. Coincidence or pattern?
In general, there were many complaints about TikTok, which basically boiled down to the fact that the application collects everything it can find about its users. Many have noted that the application tries so hard that even the phone case heats up much more when the application is launched relative to when it is unloaded from memory.
All the same, while scandals with the service managed to affect its popularity only in India and did not affect the army of fans in the rest of the world. Things may change when massive bans begin, but so far TikTok remains the fastest growing social network in the world in history.