Complaint Filed Against TikTok in the Northern District of Illinois for Misusing Biometric Data

Jul 01, 2020 | Srivats Shankar

A class-action complaint has been filed in the Northern District of Illinois against the developer of the popular application TikTok for misusing biometric data

The developer of TikTok, the popular video sharing application, has been accused of “surreptitiously [collecting], [using], and [storing]” users’ facial information. The case of Minors v TikTok raises these allegations against the application developer. Under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act §14/5 (c) the State has chosen to protect biometric data as it is unique to an individual and by its very nature once compromised there is little scope for recourse. The threat of identity theft is the basis for this statute. The developers do not specify why the collect and use the data. In the complaint, they have been accused of collecting information of minors. The guardians of the minors have brought a class-action seeking damages and injunctive relief.

According to the Plaintiffs they do not recall having been notified of the terms of service and any subsequent changes to said terms. Further, the guardians of the minors were not notified of the storage of the biometric information. The complaints notes that the application question is one of the most popular of all time, with over 300 million downloads in the beginning of 2020 with over 680 million active users. The main contention is that the privacy policy does not specify what personal information is collect by the application and at no point clearly specifies it collects biometric information. The usage of this information is allegedly for the purpose of targeting content and features to maintain high levels of user engagement.

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