Personal information is the modern gold. By using free software, you have actually become the product, not the client, but what do apps actually make behind the curtain? Here's a look at what TikTok does.
It is no secret that software company giants are collecting personal data. A recent scandal with the collaboration between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica showed us that personal information on your devices is not safe at all. That opens concern about new markets for alternative applications such as TikTok, software by Chinese start-up company ByteDance that has become one of the most downloaded apps. Recently a Reddit user by the name of "bangorlol" said that they have reverse-engineered TikTok, which revealed that the personal information Facebook collects "seems nothing" compared to what the Chinese application processes. They also claim that this is one of the reasons why this software drains your battery quite fast. The user states they reverse-engineer applications for a living. This is some of the information the application allegedly sends over network to ByteDance's servers:
- Information about your phone contacts.
- Your phone's type, disk space, etc.
- Information about what other applications you have installed on the device.
- Information about your network (IP, MAC addresses, Wi-Fi access point name), which is a source for your approximate location as well.
- The app may check your GPS coordinates every 30 seconds or so (location tracking).
- And now the scariest part: the amount of information they can get from your device can be configured remotely (by programmers), which means some may be more spied on than others.
According to the software engineer, this application is a serious threat to your privacy. Some countries have already banned the application from their internet space. Do you think you should be worried if these findings are true?