Stark TikTok warning as all users told to delete app
Every TikTok user is being urged to delete the app from their phones to protect their personal data from “hostile” threats.
Alicia Kearns, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee, said users should “without question” get rid of the app. The senior Conservative MP suggested the video-sharing platform is linked to China’s efforts to build a “tech totalitarian state”.
There have long been concerns around TikTok over its links to China because its parent company, ByteDance, was founded in the country, and critics have raised fears data could be passed to the Chinese government.
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In December, TikTok executive Liz Kanter insisted the platform has not been asked for UK user data by the Chinese government and would not provide it if it was.
But speaking after the United States shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon, Ms Kearns told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: “We are being naïve.
“What TikTok does is it gives away the data that makes you most vulnerable: who are you friends with; what are your interests; what are the interests you have that you may not want publicly disclosed; who you are having private conversations with; the locations you go to.
“There’s a reason why China has this app. There’s a reason why they’re buying up gay dating apps. Our data is a key vulnerability and China is building a tech totalitarian state on the back of our data.”
She said that while TikTok said there was “no way that individuals working in China could get access to the data of Britons … what we’ve now seen is that people working in China for TikTok hacked into European data so it could track down the source of a journalist”.
The MP said we “have to get far more serious about protecting ourselves” and has advised everyone to delete the app “without question”.
A TikTok spokesman said: “TikTok is enjoyed by millions of people across the UK, and we want to be clear that they can trust us with their data. We’re taking steps like storing UK user data in our data centre operations in Ireland, starting this year; further reducing employee access to data; and minimising data flows outside of Europe.
“We have written to Ms Kearns on a number of occasions to ensure she has all the facts and information available and we look forward to having constructive engagement with her on these important issues in the near future.”
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