House Chief Administrative Officer Issues TikTok Advisory
WASHINGTON — The chief administrative officer of the House of Representatives has issued a cyber advisory to Capitol Hill staff on TikTok, labeling it a “high risk” app due to the Chinese-owned platform’s lack of transparency in how it protects customer data, and other reasons, including its requirement of excessive permissions from users.
“While the use of official House-affiliated social media accounts is governed by the individual office and House rules, we do encourage following best practices that are prudent for anyone using social media platforms,” the unsigned advisory says.
“TikTok actively harvests content for identifiable data,” the advisory continues, adding that the popular social media platform “may collect biometric identifiers and biometric information ,,, including ‘faceprints’ and ‘voiceprints’ from videos users upload.”
The office says that security researchers have identified several significant concerns associated with TikTok applications, including mapping users’ devices, checking the location of user devices on an hourly basis, continually requesting access to contacts until given, requesting access to external storage, then retrieving everything in in and saving images in a photo album.
TikTok was also able to obtain Wi-Fi network names, past Wi-Fi networks, device serial numbers, SIM card serial numbers, the MAC address, phone number and voicemail number, accounts on devices and subscription information.
“To reiterate,” the advisory says in bold letters, “we do not recommend the download or use of this application due to these security and privacy concerns.”
The CAO did not respond to an email from The Well News seeking comment.