The Chinese-owned app, TikTok, recently stared gaining increasing recognition during the coronavirus pandemic, but things got a little shaky for the company and its parent company ByteDance as they started facing serious allegations.
TikTok and ByteDance were specifically targeted in the U.S. after the U.S. government claimed that the company was using invasive methods to collect user data in the country, which was threatened to be misused or inappropriately accessed by the Chinese government.
While President Donald Trump stands firm on his stance to ban the app in the U.S., TikTok has also been accused of of collecting users' information from their phones by logging in to their MAC addresses. It has been reported that the app attempted to do so by exploiting a bug and hiding its tracks with an atypical extra layer of encryption.
In 2015, Google banned apps from using or tracking MAC address in order to ensure users' privacy, and Apple also stopped tracking MAC addresses two years ago. Now it seems like ByteDance is being accused of violating users' privacy by tracking their unique identifiers.
According to Wall Street Journal's analysis, TikTok tracked users' MAC addresses for about 15 months until it launched the current updated version of the app. The accusation has been denied by TikTok and one of its spokesperson stated that the company takes the matter of users' security very seriously and stopped tracking MAC addresses since November of last year, and that the current version of the app doesn't collect the addresses.
TikTok also denied all the claims against it in terms of letting the Chinese government spy on users' data through the app. The CIA further looked into the matter and was able to confirm that the Chinese government never accessed users' information through TikTok.
For now, the accusations against TikTok and ByteDance are under investigation and ByteDance is also ready to challenge the matter in court.