TikTok trouble: Why the US may try to ban the app

by birtanpublished on August 24, 2020

There's all this news about tick tock possibly being banned in the united states so what exactly is going on the general concern is that the tick tock app which is owned by a chinese company

Could be used to spy on u.s citizens so let's get some context and start with the basics tiktok came to the us by way of an app called musically musically was a video sharing app where people would frequently

Lip sync to songs a beijing based company called bite dance purchased musically then merged it into bite dance's existing app tiktok there's also the china internet security law

It requires that critical information infrastructure operators store their data on users on servers in china companies that operate within china are legally bound to enforce

Censorship and will be held responsible for content spread through their platforms the tick tock app is not available in china but bike dance does operate another social network app there

According to estimates tik-tok has been downloaded over 2 billion times so let's talk about tick-tock and security concerns in november of 2019 news outlets reported that a commerce

Department committee in the u.s began a national security review of tick tock the new york times reported that one of its sources said the american government had evidence of the tick tock app

Sending data to china in january of this year the u.s department of defense advised the military to block access to tick-tock the military took the advice

And tick-tock is not allowed on phones issued by the government to the army or navy in march senator josh hawley announced legislation that would ban tiktok from government devices

Of all federal employees hawley says that tiktok collects information about the messages sent in the app keystrokes and location data he was citing tick tock's own privacy policy senator hawley said

Quote we know it is a national security risk well now the u.s is considering blocking the app on a national level secretary of state mike pompeo said people who downloaded the app

Are putting private information in the hands of the chinese communist party when asked if chinese social media apps should be banned especially tick tock pompeo told fox news we are taking this very seriously

And we are certainly looking at it with respect to chinese apps on people's cell phones i can assure you the united states will get this one right too let's look outside of the united states

59 apps including tick tock were banned in india because of national security concerns in a statement the indian government said that its ministry of information technology

Received many complaints about misuse of some mobile apps for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside india

There's also news out of australia where members of parliament are looking to have tick tock banned in a report by the daily mail an unnamed member of parliament said that tiktok should be considered as an

Effort by the chinese communist party to collect data in january tick tock was banned from australian defense force devices over security concerns companies are also concerned with tick tock

Amazon sent a memo to employees to delete tick tock from their phones that memo said the app poses security risks without specifics removing the app meant employees could still access their work email

On their phones then hours later the company said the memo was sent in error here's amazon's official statement this morning's email to some of our employees was sent in error there is no change to our policies right

Now with regard to tick tock then there's wells fargo it has asked employees to remove tick tock from their work phones in a statement a wells fargo spokesperson said that due to concerns

About tick tock's privacy and security controls and practices and because corporate owned devices should be used for company business only we have directed those employees to remove the app from their devices

So what has tick tock said about this in a blog post from october 2019 the company said we store all tick-tock u.s user data in the united states with backup redundancy in singapore

Our data centers are located entirely outside of china and none of our data is subject to chinese law the company also said let us be very clear tik tok does not remove content

Based on sensitivities related to china we have never been asked by the chinese government to remove any content and we would not do so if asked we are not influenced by any foreign

Government including the chinese government tiktok does not operate in china nor do we have any intention of doing so in the future now in november of 2019 bite dance said

Tik tok has made clear that we have no higher priority than earning the trust of users and regulators in the u.s and that it does not send user data to china in july of 2020 tick tock said it

Planned to exit hong kong in reaction to a chinese security law that criminalizes secession subversion organization and perpetration of terrorist activities and collusion with a foreign country so

How would a u.s ban of tick tock even work the u.s government would have to find a legally sound reason to request that apple and google pull tiktok from their app stores this is according to analysts the trump

Administration has limited authority to ban outright any specific piece of software like an app kurt opsahl the general counsel at the electronic frontier foundation said

The administration could potentially lobby congress to enact legislation that targets tick tock this could lead to legal challenges under the first amendment previous court rulings said that code is

Speech tick-tock could also be put on the entity list by the u.s commerce department like huawei was that restricts access to u.s technology if tick-tock were added to that list

It would be removed from apple and google's online stores then there's apple and google either company or both could push back on the practical side even if the app were removed from google's official

Store the app could still be loaded from outside the play store additionally anyone who already had access to the tiktok app would still be able to use it there's also the idea that the u.s could

Block traffic to tick-tock but that is very unlikely as of this recording there have been no formal findings by the u.s on whether tick-tock is a national security risk we'll have

More as the story develops i'm maya zakhtar and i'll see you online

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