TikTok has grown to be one of Australia’s most popular apps but it could be banned because of the results from this latest report.
The report was put together by an Australian-US cyber security company Internet 2.0 and the report has since been published in the Australian Financial Review among others.
The report has found that the app is collecting “unnecessary” data and experts are saying the app could potentially know things like when you last visited your GP, your movements over the weekend and even how fast you drive according to experts.
Internet 2.0’s report also reveals that the iOS version of TikTok has connection to the server on mainland China, which raises concern that TikTok the Chinese government access to the data which would put the privacy of its Australian users at risk.
But what data does the app actually collect?
According to the findings in the report, the app maps each users device, which means it gathers information about every other app that is running and installed on the device.
The Android version also collects location data from the device, which reportedly happens at least once per hour and on top of that, the app repeatedly requests access to the users contacts.
TikTok also requests access to any external storage, which according to experts is a very normal request for a social media app but once allowed, not only does the app have the ability to see all of the folders on the device, it can also put together a list of all of the files in those external folders.
The data that is harvested in social media apps is then analysed and used to identify individuals’ behaviour, build a profile and share it with third party organisations.
In a statement to 7NEWS.com.au, TikTok rubbished the report and firmly denied having any IP links to China.
“The IP address is in Singapore, the network traffic does not leave the region, and it is categorically untrue to imply there is communication with China,” a spokesperson said in response to the report.
“The researcher’s conclusions reveal fundamental misunderstandings of how mobile apps work, and by their own admission, they do not have the correct testing environment to confirm their baseless claims.”
TikTok said it collects user information upon consent and keeps the data secure.
But the concern stems from that in China tech companies are required to share collected data with the government upon request.
Photo: Marijan Murat/dpa (aap)