TikTok has been gathering device identifiers for more than a year in infringement of Android policies

Figured out by a Wall Street Journal investigation, TikTok has informed they have abandoned the practice.

In the midst of all the security issues stacking up against TikTok, a Wall Street Journal investigation has found out that TikTok’s Android app has been gathering users’ MAC addresses for the past 18 months now. This breaches Android’s regulations. 

MAC addresses, or Media Access Control addresses, function as unique identifiers for each and every user’s device making them beneficial for both advertising reasons and even for more intrusive means of tracking.

Both the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store had prohibited the accumulation of MAC addresses as an issue of policy by 2015. Nonetheless, in accordance with The Verge, TikTok was capable to acquire the identifier through a way out.

Yet, TikTok is not the only app conducting this. The WSJ study found approximately 350 apps on the Google Play Store that had taken full advantage of an identical loophole, generally for ad-targeting.

WSJ accounts that TikTok abandoned this practice in November last year and allocated this change in policy to the increasing political pressure from the US.

A disclosure took place at a time when TikTok is experiencing some difficult questions from the Trump governance over its parent company ByteDance’s level of access to US user data and this could be very important.

The White House ends all US proceedings with ByteDance, through an executive order issued in the past week, commencing from September 20 if the company is incapable to fulfill the sales of its US operations by that time.

ByteDance is presently discussing with Microsoft about the deal but reports mention that it could take much more time than expected, which just could possibly frustrate the Trump governance. 

WSJ’s disclosure contradicts to TikTok’s argument that the system does not any more gather data than a standard mobile app. Considering the assemblage of user data, gathering MAC addresses are primarily done for ad tracking, but it certainly is one of the more intrusive forms of the practice.

TikTok informed The Verge that they had abandoned the practice and even stated that the present-day version of the app does not gather MAC addresses.

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