EU watchdog sets up TikTok task force, warns on Clearview AI software

FILE PHOTO: A TikTok logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Chinese video app TikTok’s practices are to be examined by an EU task force, the bloc’s privacy watchdog said on Wednesday, which also warned EU police forces against using facial recognition software from U.S. company Clearview AI.

TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance, allows users to create short videos and has seen its popularity soar during the COVID-19 crisis.

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) said it would set up a task force to assess TikTok’s activities across the bloc after a request from an EU lawmaker concerned about its data collection methods and security and privacy risks.

The task force will coordinate potential actions and seek an overview of TikTok’s processing and practices across the EU, the EDPB said in a statement.

Clearview AI scrapes the internet for publicly available photos and uses facial recognition to identify potential suspects, triggering criticism in Canada and the United States about potential misuse.

“The EDPB has doubts as to whether any Union or Member State law provides a legal basis for using a service such as the one offered by Clearview AI,” the EDPB said.

“The EDPB is therefore of the opinion that the use of a service such as Clearview AI by law enforcement authorities in the European Union would, as it stands, likely not be consistent with the EU data protection regime,” it said.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Jason Neely