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

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

As you may recall, final July, then US President Donald Trump pushed for a ban on the app, social gathering resulting from issues across the potential use of TikTok information for surveillance functions, resulting from 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 could be trying to re-assess the app, and its data-gathering potential, at some stage.

In the present day, 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 the usage of Chinese language surveillance know-how exterior the PRC, in addition to the event or use of Chinese language surveillance know-how to facilitate repression or critical human rights abuses, represent uncommon and extraordinary threats.

That may see the US Authorities shifting 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 dad or mum 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, may level to additional scrutiny – notably contemplating that TikTok lately added a new provision into its privacy policy which is able to permit it to gather person “biometric identifiers and biometric info”, together with “faceprints and voiceprints”, through the app.

That would open up recent issues 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 person info to the CCP, on request, if such a request is submitted. We’ve got no perception, after all, as as to whether 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 person info is saved exterior of China and never accessible by the CCP.

However the concern stays, and with TikTok seemingly shifting to assemble up extra person insights, and the US Authorities scrutinizing related components, it looks as if the 2 might be shifting in direction of one other conflict. 

However then once more, “biometric identifiers and biometric info” 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, notably given TikTok’s potential CCP linkage, it is probably not as important an replace because it appears, up-front.

However it’s going to seemingly be sufficient to get a number of extra Congress-folk trying its approach as soon as once more, and if tensions proceed to escalate between China and the US, with China more likely to reply, ultimately, to this newest spherical of restrictions, that would put TikTok underneath the highlight as soon as once more.

Which may spark new discussions a few attainable ban, or a attainable 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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