TikTok Trackers Embedded in U.S. State-Government Websites, Review Finds – Slashdot
Toronto-based Feroot Security “found that so-called tracking pixels from the TikTok parent company were present in 30 U.S. state-government websites across 27 states,” reports the Wall Street Journal, “including some where the app has been banned from state networks and devices.” The review was performed in January and February.
The presence of that code means that U.S. state governments around the country are inadvertently participating in a data-collection effort for a foreign-owned company, one that senior Biden administration officials and lawmakers of both parties have said could be harmful to U.S. national security and the privacy of Americans.
Administrators who manage government websites use such pixels to help measure the effectiveness of advertising they have purchased on TikTok…. The presence of the TikTok tracking code on government websites underlines the challenge for those who deem the China-owned app a potential data-security threat. Lawmakers in both parties are considering a nationwide ban, but simply uprooting the app from U.S. smartphones wouldn’t stop all data-tracking activities….
Feroot found that the average website it studied had more than 13 embedded pixels. Google’s were far and away the most common, with 92% of websites examined having some sort of Google tracking pixel embedded. About 50% of the websites the firm examined had Microsoft Corp. or Facebook pixels. TikTok had a presence in less than 10% of sites examined.