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TikTok Violates Wiretap Laws, New Suit Claims

TikTok has started the year with 15 separate lawsuits claiming its in-app browser is tracking user behaviour in a way that breaches the US Federal Wiretap Act.

The most recent of these suits claims “in-app browser usage makes TikTok privy to any confidential information that the user inputs on this third-party website, without the user knowing.”

The slew of legal action comes after Austrian security researcher Felix Krause discovered source code in the app that allows TikTok to monitor its users’ interactions with any other website they access via the app.

TikTok denies this; it admits the presence of the source code, but claims its used for “debugging, troubleshooting, and performance monitoring.”

The latest suit speculates that, should a TikTok user open the Planned Parenthood website via the app, “a simple search of ‘prenatal care’ tells TikTok that this user may be pregnant. TikTok might know the user is pregnant even before the user’s close family and friends.”

These suits are the least of TikTok’s issues at the moment. A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced legislation that may give President Biden the ability to “force the sale of foreign-owned technologies, applications, software or e-commerce platforms if they present a national security threat to US users.”

“These risks are not going away and unfortunately our tools to date have been limited,” Democrat Mark Warner said of the bill.

“We are going to create a new set of authorities.”



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