Warning to parents: Chinese owned TikTok now collecting children’s ‘biometric’ data such as face and voiceprints

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A new privacy update on TikTok is raising some reasonable concerns and questions, as the company will now be collecting “biometric identifiers and biometric information” from app users. 

This biometric data would include the likes of “faceprints and voiceprints.” The company has not gone on to explain why this sort of data is being collected. 

The latest update to TikTok’s “Privacy Policy” came on June 2nd, which the subcategory of “Image and Audio Information” reads as follows: 

“We may collect information about the images and audio that are a part of your User Content, such as identifying the objects and scenery that appear, the existence and location within an image of face and body features and attributes, the nature of the audio, and the text of the words spoken in your User Content.

“We may collect this information to enable special video effects, for content moderation, for demographic classification, for content and ad recommendations, and for other non-personally-identifying operations.”

Those first two portions may seem a little off-putting, but the data that is mentioned in that portion of the section is at least offered an explanation as to why the data is being collected. 

But then, there is the newly added portion of the “Image and Audio Information” section, which reads: 

“We may collect biometric identifiers and biometric information as defined under US laws, such as faceprints and voiceprints, from your User Content. Where required by law, we will seek any required permissions from you prior to any such collection.”

Here’s the interesting tidbit about the mentioning of collecting “biometric” data such as “faceprints and voiceprints”: TikTok doesn’t go on to explain why this specific data is needed or being collected. 

The company is simply letting users know (assuming users are keeping up with reading the privacy policy) that they’ll be cataloging this information. 

Technology news outlet TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez also noted such concerns in a recent article about the latest privacy update to TikTok: 

“The statement itself is vague, as it doesn’t specify whether it’s considering federal law, states laws, or both. It also doesn’t explain, as the other part did, why TikTok needs this data. It doesn’t define the terms ‘faceprints’ or ‘voiceprints.’ Nor does it explain how it would go about seeking the ‘required permissions’ from users, or if it would look to either state or federal laws to guide that process of gaining consent.”

Now of course, TikTok did note in their privacy policy regarding the collection of biometric data that where “required by law,” TikTok “will seek any required permissions from you prior to any such collection.”

However, there isn’t a single federal law within the United States that comprehensively addresses the use and/or collection of biometric data. There are some states that address biometric data privacy and collection, such as Washington, New York, California, Illinois and Texas. 

But it’s safe to say that there are stateside TikTok users outside of the aforementioned states. 

There’s also one other interesting thing to note about this biometric data collection update from TikTok: this update signifying that biometric data was only added to the United States “Privacy Policy.”

TikTok already manages to snag a plethora of data from users, from GPS location, device information, metadata from uploaded content, battery life on your device, files on your device etc. 

Now, for whatever reason, TikTok is going to be holding onto U.S. users’ biometric data. 

TikTok just quietly doubled down on censorship, protecting illegal immigrants and criminals and targeting conservatives

June 3, 2021

The following editorial is written by a current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

When looking at the community guidelines for the platform TikTok, there is an entire section dedicated to “hateful behavior” that is prohibited from being uploaded onto the platform.

Think Twitter & FB standards are rough? TikTok is extensively worse
TikTok image – YouTube screenshot (courtesy of Tech Vision)

While many complain and clamor about the restrictive guidelines associated with Facebook or Twitter, in terms of content allowed on the platform, one would be surprised to see that TikTok is actually the most restrictive.

According to the “hateful behavior” section of the community guidelines for TikTok, there is an entire section that outlines those hosting “protected attributes”. These “protected attributes” on the platform are as follows:

  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Caste
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Sex
  • Gender
  • Gender identity
  • Serious disease
  • Disability
  • Immigration

And when it comes to these “protected attributes”, the platform prohibits the posting, streaming, uploading, or sharing of content that references any of the above as:

  • Claiming that they are physically, mentally, or morally inferior
  • Calling for or justifying violence against them
  • Claiming that they are criminals
  • Referring to them as animals, inanimate objects, or other non-human entities
  • Promoting or justifying exclusion, segregation, or discrimination against them
  • Content that depicts harm inflicted upon an individual or a group on the basis of a protected attribute

When one just takes a quick glance at what the platform refers to as a “protected attribute” and then the type of content prohibited in reference to a “protected attribute” – most would come to the conclusion that they seem like fairly reasonable guidelines.

Except, there’s a problem with the listing of “immigration”, which is a reference to someone’s immigration status, and not being allowed to claim “that they are criminals”.

I mean…if someone is in the United States, or any other country for that matter, without having a proper immigration status (visa, LPR status, citizenship etc.) then they’re literally in the midst of a crime – in fact, one could say they’re a criminal.

But according to the community guidelines at TikTok, you’re not allowed to call a criminal a “criminal”.

Say what you will about the guidelines associated with Facebook or Twitter, but on either of those platforms a user can still refer to an illegal immigrant as being a criminal.

Then there is the portion of the community guidelines under “illegal activities and regulated goods”, which notes the following with respect to displaying guns and ammo on the platform:

“We do not allow the depiction, promotion, or trade of firearms, ammunition, firearm accessories, or explosive weapons. We also prohibit instructions on how to manufacture those weapons. Content as part of a museum’s collection, carried by a police officer, in a military parade, or used in a safe and controlled environment such as a shooting range may be allowed.”

Notice how even the most innocuous displays of firearms on TikTok, such as firearms that may be present during military parades or a weapon holstered by a police officer, are depictions that “may be allowed”. Yet, the platform’s general rule is simply no guns depicted.

Keep in mind, one can still depict firearms on many of the other large social media platforms.

Now personally, I think the entirety of the TikTok platform is cringy and is rife with content that promotes nonsense like innumerable genders, grooming, narcissism, and “furries” (if you don’t know what a “furry” is, then consider yourself lucky).

Needless to say, it’s painfully obvious what the platform TikTok wants to promote and wants to avoid having criticized or discussed/showcased.

Outside of content moderation debacles, TikTok seems to also be translating to real-world employment issues for police officers deciding to jump on the platform. 

As we reportedly in May, our Law Enforcement Today TikTok account was suspended for…something. We never found out exactly why.

Two weeks later, we discovered our account was reactivated, so like a good conservative group, we put up our viral hiring video about our “snowflake test” for hiring purposes for our sister company Silent Partner Marketing.

Our national spokesman, Kyle Reyes’ interview with Fox Business’ Varney & Co. can be seen here. 

 

Well imagine our surprise when we found out through one of our followers that TikTok had flagged the video for containing “sensitive content.” In other words, our video about not hiring “snowflakes” apparently offended some “snowflake” content monitors at TikTok.

Warning to parents: Chinese owned TikTok now collecting children’s 'biometric' data such as face and voiceprints
Law Enforcement Today TikTok flagged video as sensitive-used w/ permission
Warning to parents: Chinese owned TikTok now collecting children’s 'biometric' data such as face and voiceprints
Law Enforcement Today TikTok video flagged as sensitive content-used w/permission

For those of you not “with it” as far as what the term “snowflake” means in popular parlance, here is the definition for the “slang” meaning of snowflake:

“A derogatory slang term for a person implying they have an inflated sense of uniqueness, an unwarranted sense of entitlement, or are overly-emotional, easily offended, and unable to deal with opposing opinions.”

In other words, it applies to mostly liberals, who can usually be found being offended by pretty much everything, such as Dr. Seuss books, Disney movies and the names of sports teams.

Of course, the flag on the post got some attention, much of it calling out TikTok for being so “sensitive.”

“Tik Tok seriously put a sensitive warning on the video” 😊😊😊

“The warning on this makes it even better.”

“This will become a business model for serious businesses for sure!!”

Warning to parents: Chinese owned TikTok now collecting children’s 'biometric' data such as face and voiceprints
TIkTok responses to our video being flagged as “sensitive”-Used w/ permission

“Tik Tok trying to save the snowflakes from watching by putting a sensitive warning on this”

“lmao the warning before this video is f*cking hilarious. I thought I was going to see something gruesome.”

Warning to parents: Chinese owned TikTok now collecting children’s 'biometric' data such as face and voiceprints
TikTok responses to our viral video-Used w/permission
Warning to parents: Chinese owned TikTok now collecting children’s 'biometric' data such as face and voiceprints
TikTok responses to “sensitive” content on our viral video-Used w/permission

So, what exactly is the “snowflake test?”

According to The Blaze, the test was designed in order to weed through the plethora of applications Reyes received for his company, Silent Partner.

“I don’t want most people to work for my company,” Reyes posted in a conservative outlet, the New Boston Post. “No seriously. Most people suck.”

He continued:

“Not just professionally. Just as people. They are whiny, needy, entitled little brats.”

The test is really quite simple, consisting of only 30 questions. Two of the questions? “What does America mean to you?” and “How do you feel about guns?”

Now clearly, if the answer to question one is you believe America was founded in 1619, is systemically racist country and all cops suck, hit the door. You haven’t got a prayer. And what of guns? Well, if you say that any black scary looking gun like an AR-15 is a “weapon of war,” see you later.

As Reyes told “Fox & Friends,” “someone who’s not proud to be an American” is immediately dismissed from consideration, as well as anyone who doesn’t support the Second Amendment.

 

One other question— “What does privilege mean to you?” is meant to weed out people who feel they are entitled and who feel the world owes them something.

“I’m looking for people who are not entitled, who don’t have a sense that they should just be handed things…who are willing to work for everything they have,” Reyes said. 

Another question, “When was the last time you cried and why?” is not meant to eliminate someone who admitted having cried at one time or another but rather “I’m not gonna give you a safe space at our company.”

For some of those who “made the cut,” here is a video from Fox & Friends where two successors are interviewed:

 

Of course, our company has had our share of run-ins with the tech tyrants, as have most conservative outlets. In fact, our founder Robert Greenberg, as well as Reyes, both of whom were premium members on LinkedIn had their accounts canceled for reasons they were never told.

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