ByteDance, the company behind the popular video-editing app CapCut, is facing a class-action lawsuit in Illinois. The lawsuit alleges that CapCut is unlawfully collecting biometric data, such as face scans and voiceprints, from its over 200 million active users without obtaining proper consent. Additionally, the app is accused of gathering users’ location, date of birth, gender, photos, and videos to facilitate targeted advertising. There are also claims that CapCut can access data from user devices, including MAC addresses and SIM serial numbers.
Moreover, the lawsuit highlights concerns about ByteDance’s headquarters being located in Beijing, as it raises the possibility that CapCut data may be accessible to the Chinese government. It points to statements from a former ByteDance official suggesting that the Chinese Communist Party can access user data outside of China through a “backdoor channel code,” including data from users in the United States.
ByteDance also owns TikTok, which has faced similar accusations regarding data privacy and national security concerns. While TikTok has made efforts to address these issues, such as routing US user data to Oracle servers and removing private data from ByteDance’s data centers, some states and jurisdictions have taken measures to ban the app on state-owned devices due to these lingering concerns.
In response to the class-action suit, the plaintiffs are seeking a court order to prevent ByteDance from sending CapCut user data to China and from collecting biometric information and other data without proper consent. They are also requesting that the court compel ByteDance to delete any unlawfully obtained user data and content through CapCut. The suit additionally seeks unspecified damages for the alleged privacy violations.
BuyTechBlog has reached out to ByteDance for comment on the matter.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Biometric data collection
Q: What is the lawsuit against ByteDance about?
A: The lawsuit against ByteDance is regarding its CapCut video-editing app allegedly collecting biometric data, such as face scans and voiceprints, from over 200 million users without obtaining consent.
Q: Where was the lawsuit filed?
A: The lawsuit was filed in Illinois.
Q: What privacy law does the lawsuit claim CapCut violated?
A: The lawsuit claims that CapCut violated the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) of Illinois by collecting biometric data without informing users or obtaining their express permission.
Q: What other data does the app allegedly collect?
A: In addition to biometric data, the app allegedly collects users’ location, date of birth, gender, photos, videos, MAC addresses, and SIM serial numbers.
Q: What is the concern related to ByteDance’s headquarters being in Beijing?
A: The concern is that the Chinese government may have access to CapCut data due to ByteDance’s location, raising potential privacy and security issues.
Q: How has TikTok, also owned by ByteDance, addressed similar concerns?
A: TikTok has routed US user data to Oracle servers in the US and removed private data from ByteDance’s data centers as part of an initiative called Project Texas.
Q: What are the plaintiffs seeking in the class-action lawsuit?
A: The plaintiffs are asking the court to block ByteDance from sending CapCut user data to China and to delete unlawfully obtained user data. They also seek unspecified damages for privacy violations.
Q: What has ByteDance said in response to the lawsuit?
A: There is no information provided in the text regarding ByteDance’s response to the lawsuit.
More about Biometric data collection
- “ByteDance faces class-action lawsuit over data collection allegations” (Source: The Record)
- “Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA)” (Source: IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law)
- “Concerns about TikTok and data privacy” (Source: The Verge)
- “ByteDance CEO’s statements on TikTok’s security” (Source: Reuters)
- “Montana legislators’ bill to ban TikTok” (Source: The Hill)
- “Justice Department investigating claims against ByteDance employees” (Source: CNBC)
- “Privacy concerns about Chinese companies and data sharing” (Source: Bloomberg)