Friday, July 3, 2020

TikTok iOS Clipboard Snooping

Juli Clover (also: Hacker News):

A new feature in iOS 14 alerts users when apps read the clipboard, and it turns out some apps have been reading clipboard data excessively.

TikTok users who upgraded to iOS 14, for example, quickly noticed constant alerts warning them that TikTok was accessing the clipboard every few seconds. After being caught, TikTok now says that it’s removing the feature.

They say it was doing this to “identify repetitive, spammy behavior.”

John Gruber:

I mean, their explanation makes no sense at all.

Couldn’t they wait until you do something with the clipboard contents?

Other apps also read the clipboard when you aren’t pasting, often for good reasons.

TikTok also seems to try to check which apps you have installed and more:

TikTok is a data collection service that is thinly-veiled as a social network. If there is an API to get information on you, your contacts, or your device... well, they’re using it.


Here’s the thing though.. they don’t want you to know how much information they’re collecting on you, and the security implications of all of that data in one place, en masse, are fucking huge. They encrypt all of the analytics requests with an algorithm that changes with every update (at the very least the keys change) just so you can’t see what they’re doing. They also made it so you cannot use the app at all if you block communication to their analytics host off at the DNS-level.


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