Amid accusations from the Trump administration, a new report may just be one that throws the TikTok U.S. ban situation straight into the fire. The new revelation claims that the app found a way to dodge Android’s security policies and sneakily track millions of users.
The exclusive report from The Wall Street Journal states that TikTok silently collected specific MAC addresses of millions of mobile devices on Google’s Android platform for 15 months straight.
The data is assumed to have been used by the company to track users’ online activity, although it’s commonly leveraged for marketing purposes.
Google had begun blocking third-party apps from reading device MAC addresses back in 2015. This was part of an effort to beef up security on Android trying to follow what Apple was clearly a master at. However, TikTok is reported to have found access via an indirect method.
The practice was ended by Google in November last year as it violated the new Play Store policies. Interestingly, all this happened at a time when ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, was under scrutiny form the U.S. government.
Despite this being a thing of the past, it is possible that this could be used against TikTok to convince the U.S. to bid the app goodbye for good.
TikTok responded to WSJ saying they are “committed to protecting the privacy and safety of the TikTok community. Like our peers, we constantly update our app to keep up with evolving security challenges.”
Additionally, TikTok argued that they used to collect less data back then compared to American companies like Google and Facebook.
When all is said, it is still clear that President Trump still wants TikTok alongside 58 other Chinese apps gone from his country forever.