Trump Considering Banning TikTok After Anonymous Makes ‘Chinese Spyware’ Comments
The Trump administration is considering banning TikTok after Anonymous claimed it was ‘a massive spying operation’ used by the Chinese Government.
While not wanting to ‘get ahead’ of any official announcement from President Trump, his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said they were looking at reports of unauthorised surveillance through phone apps – such as TikTok, which reached two billion downloads in April – very seriously.
It comes after the hacktivist group alleged China were using the platform to get the ‘upper hand on manipulating large swaths of society across several countries’.
You can listen to Pompeo’s comments regarding a TikTok ban in the video below:
Pompeo discussed the government’s plans while talking to Fox News‘ Laura Ingraham, where he urged people to exercise caution while using TikTok, saying their private information could be ‘in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party’.
We are taking this very seriously and we are certainly looking at it. We have worked on this very issue for a long time, whether its the problem of having Huawei technology in your infrastructure – we’ve gone all over the world and we are making real progress getting that out – we had declared ZTE a danger to American national security.
With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too.
Anonymous claimed that TikTok is ‘harvesting data on children/teens to monitor their market reach and political development, to find the best methodologies to coerce them within the next five to 10 years’.
The short-form video platform has since been banned by India, along with nearly 60 other Chinese-made apps, citing concerns that they were ‘stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorised manner’. The US and Australia are also reportedly considering bans on the same apps.
India’s Ministry of Information Technology added in a statement:
The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defense of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures.
TikTok also just announced that it was pulling the app from Hong Kong app stores following new national security laws imposed on the city by Beijing, described by critics as an infringement on freedom of speech. With permission, police can now order the takedown of online material if they see it to be in breach of the law, as well as intercept communications, as per The Guardian.
Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Google and Telegram are also making changes to their operations in Hong Kong.
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