Will the White House’s new push to limit Chinese surveillance technology have an impact on TikTok?


Could TikTok again face close scrutiny by the US government and face another potential ban in the region?

As you will recall, last July US President Donald Trump called for the app to be banned, due to concerns about the potential use of TikTok data for surveillance purposes, due to an implicit link with the Chinese government, and in part, Trump said, in retaliation against China for the spread of COVID-19.

Efforts to ban TikTok were repeatedly blocked by court challenges, before finally being abandoned by the new US administration – noting that it would seek to reassess the app and its data collection potential. , at one point.

Today the US government announced an expansion of the Trump administration decision forbid youS investments in Chinese companies, based on “the tthreat posed by the military-industrial complex of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) “.

According to the White House:

“President Biden [has] expanded the scope of this national emergency by finding that the use of Chinese surveillance technology outside the PRC, as well as the development or use of Chinese surveillance technology to facilitate repression or serious human rights violations , constitute unusual and extraordinary threats.

This will see the US government restricting US investment and transactions with 59 China-based entities, including Huawei, China Telecom Corporation, Greatwall, etc.

To be clear, neither TikTok nor the parent company ByteDance are included in the list of impacted entities. But the expanded move to restrict transactions with Chinese companies, based on potential surveillance activity, may indicate further scrutiny – especially as TikTok recently added a new provision in its privacy policy that will allow him to collect user ‘biometric identifiers and biometric information’, including ‘face and voice prints’, through the app.

This could raise further concerns about the platform – the main sticking point being that under China’s cybersecurity law, any Chinese company is technically obligated to provide all user information to the CCP, upon request. , if such a request is submitted. We have no idea, of course, whether such a request has ever been or ever will be submitted to TikTok or ByteDance, but the company has repeatedly reassured users that their data is safe and that users’ information is safe. of TikTok are stored outside of China. and not accessible by the CCP.

But concern remains, and with TikTok seemingly pulling together more user information, and the US government examining similar items, it looks like the two could be headed for another showdown.

But then again, “biometric identifiers and biometric information” are also collected by other social applications. YouTube, apparently, collects similar data, and Facebook has faced legal issues in the past regarding its collection of biometric data. So while that sounds bad, especially given the potential tie-in to TikTok’s CCP, it might not be as big an update as it looks, right off the bat.

But that will likely be enough to attract a few members of Congress again, and if tensions continue to escalate between China and the United States, China is likely to respond to the latter one way or another. series of restrictions, which could once again put TikTok in the spotlight.

Which could spark further discussions about a possible ban or sale, with Oracle and Microsoft possibly re-presenting their offerings.

It’s still too early to predict where such actions might lead, but it’s worth monitoring the situation and the potential impacts for the world’s fastest growing social app.

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