The biometric data collection details were introduced in the newly added section, “Image and Audio Information,” found under the heading of “Information we collect automatically” in the policy.
The first part of the new section explains that TikTok may collect information about the images and audio that are in users’ 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.”
While that may sound creepy, other social networks do object recognition on images you upload to power accessibility features (like describing what’s in an Instagram photo, for example), as well as for ad targeting purposes. Identifying where a person and the scenery is can help with AR effects, while converting spoken words to text helps with features like TikTok’s automatic captions.
The policy also notes this part of the data collection is for enabling “special video effects, for content moderation, for demographic classification, for content and ad recommendations, and for other non-personally-identifying operations,” it says.
The more concerning part of the new section references a plan to collect biometric data.
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.
The statement itself is vague, as it doesn’t specify whether it’s considering federal law,