Former Under Secretary Of State Comments On TikTok’s Data Practices
Previously I had written about TikTok’s troubles when Buzzfeed released audio recordings where it was confirmed engineers in China had accessed data from users in the United States (U.S).
This story is still developing and has not changed one bit. In fact, it turns out the Federal Communications Commissioner (FCC), Brendan Carr, called on Google and Apple to drop TikTok from their app stores.
The commissioner is not the only person who is supporting some form of regulation or ban from the U.S. The Former Under Secretary of State, Keith Krach, provided a statement about the TikTok violations in regards to data security.
“As an app controlled by agents of the Chinese Communist Party, TikTok does not deserve Americans’ trust,” Krach said. “Its parent company, ByteDance, has betrayed its promises to safeguard user data from the prying eyes of apparatchiks in Beijing. As recent reports confirmed what my team has been warning for years, all data collected by TikTok and other Chinese companies goes straight to the Chinese Communist Party. I support Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr’s calls on Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai and Apple’s CEO Tim Cook to ban TikTok from their app stores. China is accessing the personal data from millions of U.S. TikTok users, including our children.”
Data Security And Privacy Still An Unresolved Issue
When it comes to data harvesting and usage by social media apps, or technology companies there’s no consensus yet. For some reason TikTok is still being targeted considering existing influential social networks like YouTube, Facebook (Meta), Instagram, Twitter, and others utilize information from users.
So why is TikTok the focal point? It is owned by ByteDance, which is based in China. Therefore, it passes on information to the Chinese government. Do not forget former President Donald Trump nearly succeeded in forcing the sale of TikTok.
Krach did warn about the implications of a Microsoft Purchase of TikTok.
“As Under Secretary of State, I warned about the consequences of a potential Microsoft purchase of TikTok, emphasizing the need to protect Americans’ sensitive data from the CCP. We formed the Clean Network, including Clean Apps, to promote digital trust standards and ensure that the technologies used by millions of users are not used to enable Chinese’s surveillance state and human rights abuses. Technology must advance freedom.”
Takeaways On The TikTok Debate
It is an interesting perspective Krach has provided about TikTok and the potential problems it presents around how data is used. However, there is a need for comprehensive regulation of all existing apps that have millions if not billions of data points on everyone. This means power and control on what companies can do with valuable information.
With a divided government it is impossible to say if there will a bipartisan effort. In the fall there are midterm elections, so expect a lot of buzz and news coverage targeted towards TikTok. Finally, if we are going to see legislative action it better include every other social media app or technology-related site.