business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  Here's a scary one from the New York Times:

"The web browser used within the TikTok app can track every keystroke made by its users, according to new research that is surfacing as the Chinese-owned video app grapples with U.S. lawmakers’ concerns over its data practices.

"The research from Felix Krause, a privacy researcher and former Google engineer, did not show how TikTok used the capability, which is embedded within the in-app browser that pops up when someone clicks an outside link. But Mr. Krause said the development was concerning because it showed TikTok had built in functionality to track users’ online habits if it chose to do so.

"Collecting information on what people type on their phones while visiting outside websites, which can reveal credit card numbers and passwords, is often a feature of malware and other hacking tools. While major technology companies might use such trackers as they test new software, it is not common for them to release a major commercial app with the feature, whether or not it is enabled, researchers said."

The Times reports that "in a statement, TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese internet firm ByteDance, said Mr. Krause’s report was 'incorrect and misleading' and that the feature was used for 'debugging, troubleshooting and performance monitoring.'  'Contrary to the report’s claims, we do not collect keystroke or text inputs through this code,' TikTok said.

Okay, can I get a show of hands - how many of you are willing to believe TikTok on this one?