TikTok is just one app out of the many that pose privacy threats, but because of its prominence and relationship with China, it continues to fight against the Trump administration because of political reasons, and of course national security. But is it the only app you should be worried about?
Most apps collect data from its users and TikTok is one of those, using it for a bunch of purposes. The possibility of the video-sharing app providing private data to China has been pointed out repeatedly since. Representatives from the company have denied the accusation several times before, yet there is still paranoia around it.
“It is good that federal regulators are paying close attention to [TikTok], but it is ultimately one of the many platforms that collect, and use, and analyze, and rely on, and profit off of personal data,” said Electronic Privacy Information Center counsel John Davisson.
Most apps have the same system of using location data, connecting other social media accounts, and such, and TikTok isn’t the only one the Chinese government can approach, which means banning TikTok isn’t exactly the spot-on solution for protecting people’s privacy.
“China could buy similar mobile data from data brokers or ad networks. Most ad networks are collecting the same, if not worse, information,” said former Federal Trade Commission lawyer Whitney Merrill. “I think if they really wanted to get this information, they’d get it from a whole bunch of other sources, and disallowing TikTok isn’t making any incremental improvement,” she added.
Although the app has yet to be totally banned in the US, many users have started deleting the app already. Wells Fargo went ahead and demanded their employees delete the app while Amazon seems like it is planning on it after an email was sent “in error” to its employees, saying the app must be deleted to keep mobile access on their emails.