Friday June 4, 2021 By David Quintanilla
Will the White House’s New Push to Limit Chinese Surveillance Technology Impact TikTok?

Might TikTok come underneath US Authorities scrutiny as soon as once more, and face one other potential ban within the area?

As you will recall, final July, then US President Donald Trump pushed for a ban on the app, occasion attributable to considerations across the potential use of TikTok information for surveillance functions, attributable to implied reference to the Chinese language Authorities, and partly, Trump mentioned, in retaliation against China for the unfold of COVID-19.

Efforts to ban TikTok have been repeatedly stalled by authorized challenges, earlier than finally being abandoned by the brand new US administration – although not with out noting that it will be trying to re-assess the app, and its data-gathering potential, at some stage.

At the moment, the US Authorities announced an enlargement of the Trump administration’s ruling to ban US investments in Chinese language corporations, primarily based on “the threat posed by the military-industrial complicated of the Folks’s Republic of China (PRC)”.

As per the White House:

“President Biden [has] expanded the scope of this nationwide emergency by discovering that using Chinese language surveillance expertise outdoors the PRC, in addition to the event or use of Chinese language surveillance expertise to facilitate repression or severe human rights abuses, represent uncommon and extraordinary threats.

That may see the US Authorities transferring to limit US funding and dealings with 59 Chinese language-based entities, together with Huawei, China Telecom Company, Greatwall, and extra.

To be clear, neither TikTok nor mother or father firm ByteDance are included within the list of impacted entities. However the expanded transfer to limit dealings with Chinese language corporations, primarily based on potential surveillance exercise, might level to additional scrutiny – significantly contemplating that TikTok not too long ago added a new provision into its privacy policy which can enable it to gather consumer “biometric identifiers and biometric data”, together with “faceprints and voiceprints”, by way of the app.

That would open up contemporary considerations concerning the platform – the principle sticking level being that underneath China’s cybersecurity law, any Chinese language-owned firm is technically required to provide all consumer data to the CCP, on request, if such a request is submitted. We now have no perception, after all, as as to if any such request has ever, or will ever be put to TikTok or ByteDance, however the firm has repeatedly reassured users that their information is secure, and that TikTok consumer data is saved outdoors of China and never accessible by the CCP.

However the concern stays, and with TikTok seemingly transferring to assemble up extra consumer insights, and the US Authorities scrutinizing comparable parts, it looks like the 2 could possibly be transferring in direction of one other conflict. 

However then once more, “biometric identifiers and biometric data” are literally gathered by different social apps too. YouTube, seemingly, collects similar data, and Fb has confronted authorized challenges prior to now over its biometric data harvesting. So whereas it sounds unhealthy, significantly given TikTok’s potential CCP linkage, it might not be as vital an replace because it appears, up-front.

However it would seemingly be sufficient to get just a few extra Congress-folk trying its method as soon as once more, and if tensions proceed to escalate between China and the US, with China prone to reply, in a roundabout way, to this newest spherical of restrictions, that would put TikTok underneath the highlight as soon as once more.

Which might spark new discussions a couple of potential ban, or a potential sell-off, with Oracle and Microsoft perhaps as soon as once more placing forth their bids.

It is nonetheless too early to foretell the place any such actions would possibly lead, however it’s price monitoring the state of affairs, and the potential impacts for the world’s fastest-growing social app.  

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