Apps

TikTok is a massive data collection service – researcher

Disguised as a social network

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Photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash

TikTok is getting a lot of heat for its opaque data collection policies after it was discovered that the app also accessed the user’s clipboard on iOS. Now, a researcher alleges that the app has collected a huge amount of user data in the background while the service continues to operate like any other social network.

Going by the name bangorlol on Reddit, the user claims that after reverse-engineering the app, they caught it collecting an abnormal dose of personal information. This includes users’ phone hardware, the apps on their phone, network-related information like IP address, router MAC, Wi-Fi access point name, and if a user’s phone was rooted or jailbroken.

He further added that GPS location pings were also being sent to the company’s servers within short intervals. However, we should take the current findings with a pinch of salt. The allegations are from an independent study and yet to be verified or audited by a government or assigned third-party.

We also can’t ignore the report. TikTok has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately. The US government has officially cited its potential security threats with the Chinese social network and at least two security audits are currently underway.

India has already banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok. The government said these apps are “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner.”

When compared to other social networking apps, TikTok has access to extremely sensitive data. At this point, we need more transparency from TikTok. The company has already pulled its service from India, citing the recent ban. However, it’s yet to convince public authorities about its data protection policies.

Apps

Top iOS 15 Features to look out for

FaceTime for Android, anyone?

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The next version of iOS rolls out this fall. There are new features such as FaceTime for Android, new Memojis, rebranded Safari and Messages app, personal identification card compatibility for Wallet, and more.

But in this video, we rounded up our Top 10 iOS 15 Features you should look out for.

Watch the whole video by clicking here.

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Apps

Voilà AI Artist turns your selfies into 3D cartoons, caricatures

And many more artistic renditions!

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Voilà AI Artist

From FaceApp to Zepeto, plenty of avatars from these apps proliferated social media platforms. Most recently, the Internet went crazy with cute avatars once more. You probably noticed how people have been posting a 3D cartoon version of themselves, akin to a Disney character. It’s all thanks to Voilà AI Artist — a photo-editing app using artificial intelligence to turn your photos into artistic renditions.

Get yourself painted as a Renaissance painting.

Voilà AI Artist

Have your selfies transformed into a 3D cartoon from an animated movie.

Turn your photos into a 2D cartoon…

Voilà AI Artist

… or even have your face drawn as a caricature.

Voilà AI Artist

Voilà AI Artist is developed by WeImagine.AI., a Canada-based team of creators and developers. The app is free to download on the App Store and Google Play Store. If you’re concerned about the app’s privacy policy, read it here.

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Apps

The US revokes Trump’s executive order that banned TikTok

A level-playing field for everyone

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President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday that sets criteria for the government to evaluate the risk of apps connected to foreign adversaries. It’s specifically meant for apps like TikTok and WeChat, which President Trump banned.

It should use an “evidence-based approach” to see if they pose a risk to US national security, said Biden. If apps are found violating fundamental laws, a ban can be imposed. The task of identifying threats has been given to the US Commerce Department.

Trump’s executive order particularly targeted TikTok and WeChat. Instead, Biden is opting for a level-playing field for everyone. Biden shares the same concerns as Trump, but their approach is vastly different.

Under the previous administration, TikTok remained in a precarious position as Trump sought to ban the app unless it sold to an American company. A proposal was produced that would have seen Oracle and Walmart owning a US entity of the service and taking responsibility for handling TikTok’s US user data and content moderation.

But there were numerous legal challenges, and before they could be ironed out, Trump lost the election. The Biden administration’s new executive order does not affect those negotiations, which are a separate process. The order also calls upon federal agencies to develop recommendations – for future executive actions or legislation — on how to protect the data of US citizens.

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