TikTok Collection of Biometrics Without Consent Illinois Class Action

TikTok, Inc. is a very popular app that allows users to make, view, and share short videos. Many of its users are minors, which makes it all the more startling when this class action alleges that the company collects, stores, and uses biometric identifiers of the users and of others whose faces appear in their videos. The complaint brings suit against TikTok and related company ByteDance, Inc. under Illinois’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

The class for this action is all individuals who had their biometric identifiers or biometric information, including scans of face geometry, collected, captured, received, or otherwise obtained by TikTok and ByteDance through the Musical.ly or TikTok app, while living in Illinois.

It is surprising that so few states have taken action to protect biometric identifiers. They are being used more and more often these days, even for common functions like signing in for work. Identity theft has become a major problem, but when credit card numbers are exposed, people can get another credit card with different numbers. They cannot, however, get new fingerprints or retina scans.

Apparently, TikTok does not inform users that it is collecting and using biometric information. If users are not informed, the complaint claims, they cannot give their informed consent. Many users are also underage and cannot give legal consent. This class action is brought by a sixteen-year-old named as only “CH,” through his father.

How does TikTok use these identifiers? According to the complaint, “The App scans a user’s facial geometry and its algorithm subsequently uses that information to determine an estimate of the user’s age. The App also scans facial geometry of any subject that appears in a video to allow users to impose animated features onto the video subject’s face or otherwise alter the video subject’s face.”

BIPA requires that private entities like TikTok do three things before they collect biometric identifiers or information.

  • They must inform the subject (or the subject’s legally authorized representative) in writing that the identifier or information is to be collected or stored.
  • They must inform the subject in writing of the purpose and length of time for which the biometric is being collected, stored, and used.
  • They must obtain a written release from the subject.

According to the complaint, TikTok has done none of these things.

BIPA requires a fourth thing of those who collect biometrics. They must develop a written policy, available to the public, that includes a retention schedule and guidelines for permanently destroying the biometrics they’ve collected, either when the initial purpose for collecting them has ended or within three years of the individual’s last interaction with the company. TikTok has not done this either.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Privacy

Most Recent Case Event

TikTok Collection of Biometrics Without Consent Illinois Complaint

June 5, 2020

TikTok, Inc. is a very popular app that allows users to make, view, and share short videos. Many of its users are minors, which makes it all the more startling when this class action alleges that the company collects, stores, and uses biometric identifiers of the users and of others whose faces appear in their videos. The complaint brings suit against TikTok and related company ByteDance, Inc. under Illinois’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

TikTok Collection of Biometrics Without Consent Illinois Complaint

Case Event History

TikTok Collection of Biometrics Without Consent Illinois Complaint

June 5, 2020

TikTok, Inc. is a very popular app that allows users to make, view, and share short videos. Many of its users are minors, which makes it all the more startling when this class action alleges that the company collects, stores, and uses biometric identifiers of the users and of others whose faces appear in their videos. The complaint brings suit against TikTok and related company ByteDance, Inc. under Illinois’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

TikTok Collection of Biometrics Without Consent Illinois Complaint
Tags: Biometric Data, Taking/Storing/Using Biometric Data, Using Your Private Information Without Consent, Your Privacy