TikTok is spying on users by tracking the MAC addresses of their smartphones. The discovery was made by the Wall Street Journal, according to which the collection of personal data would have been bypassing the security system on Android using a hidden layer of encryption. The practice would then been stopped by the app china last November.

You go to talk about the safety concerns of the social platform owned by ByteDance, banned officially from the White House, with an ordinance – with WeChat – and waiting to be (eventually) captured. On one side there is Microsoft, whose interest has been expressed publicly a few days ago, another Twitter, even if there are several analysts who believe that the company led by Jack Dorsey does not have the capacity, economic-financial, for an operation of this kind. TikTok, remember, is assessed at around 50 billion dollars, and is the first app not games most downloaded in the world.

Let’s go back to the test conducted from the WSJ: the technicians have examined all the versions of the application released from 2018 to 2020. The anomaly was found for 15 months and until the end of 2019 (the update that removed the “function” is dated 18 November). Tracking via MAC address

  • it was hidden by an additional layer of encryption
  • it was not deletable, resettable, or customizable
  • could not be approved by the user and is activated by default before the user could possibly notice it

For some time now, Google doesn’t allow apps on the Play Store for the tracking of users through unique identifiers, as are the MAC addresses and IMEI codes. TikTok would have circumvented the prohibition on “tricking” the system by continuing to monitor users.

All is silent – for the moment – from room oval of the White House, where Trump is preparing to censor the definitive app estromettendola from the american market: the deadline has been set for mid-September. TikTok, meanwhile, was limited to issue a terse press release that says:

The current version of the TikTok does not collect the MAC addresses,

that sounds more like an admission of guilt as proof of innocence.

Credits for the opening image of: Pixabay