U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-6th District) has a long list of questions for TikTok CEO Shou Chew on what appears to be a discrepancy with its geolocation data policy.
The congresswoman recently sent a letter to Chew requesting clarification on TikTok’s policy regarding the collection of precise geolocation data following Chew’s testimony before the Energy and Commerce Committee.
During his March 23 testimony, in response to questioning by Dingell, Chew said TikTok previously collected geolocation data from users in 2020, but currently does not.
‘Location Data. We collect information about your approximate location, including location information based on your SIM card and/or IP address. In addition, we collect location information (such as tourist attractions, shops, or other points of interest) if you choose to add the location information to your user content. With your permission, we may also collect precise location data (such as GPS).’”
Dingell went on to say that given this information, she remains concerned that, despite their statements, TikTok is collecting precise geolocation information of users as recently as this year.
She said she wants to understand this discrepancy between the statement and TikTok’s publicly available privacy policies.
The following are 15 specific questions Dingell asked Chew to answer:
● Does the current version of TikTok collect information about the “precise location” of U.S. users?
● Does the current version of TikTok collect information about the “approximate location” of U.S. users?
● Has TikTok’s definition of either of those terms changed since 2020, and if so, how has it changed?
● If the current version of TikTok collects the “precise location” of U.S. users, what technology or technologies does it use to do so?
● If the current version of TikTok collects the “approximate location” of U.S. users, what technology or technologies does it use to do so?
● What is the most recent version of TikTok released that was capable of collecting precise location information of U.S. users?
● What is the most recent version of TikTok released that was capable of collecting approximate location information of U.S. users?
● Did any version of TikTok released after 2020 collect the precise geolocation data of U.S. users?
● Has TikTok always required affirmative, express consent from the user for the app to collect precise geolocation data?
● Has any previous version of TikTok collected precise geolocation data without affirmative, express consent from the user?
● Were U.S. users who declined to share precise location data with TikTok limited in their use of any TikTok tools, functions, or services in any current or previous versions of the application?
● How many TikTok users were continuing to use previous versions of TikTok that collect precise geolocation data on March 23, 2023? Is this still ongoing?