According to the U.S. intelligence agency CIA, there is no evidence that the Chinese government gained access to TikTok data. At the same time, the CIA claims that Chinese authorities could intercept the data if they wanted to.
The CIA was recently asked to investigate the threats TikTok poses to national security. CIA analysts concluded that the data of TikTok users could fall into the hands of Chinese intelligence services, but it found no evidence that this ever happened. This does not mean that TikTok is safe to use. The U.S. government is particularly concerned about a 2017 law that obliges Chinese companies to assist the state intelligence service.
Critics recommend not to install the app, but many prominent figures believe that TikTok is a minor problem. Huawei is a much bigger problem for U.S. national security, according to Mark Warner, Senator and Vice President of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “Is TikTok a problem? Yes, but on the hierarchy of problems we’re talking about, an app that allows you to make funny videos doesn’t rank high among them.”
The conclusions of the CIA will not affect the plans of the Trump administration. TikTok will soon be banned unless an American company can make a deal with TikTok parent company ByteDance. In addition, transactions with WeChat will be suspended next month, and trading with Huawei has long been banned. This is related to the increasing tension between China and the United States.
Mike Pompeo, the American Secretary of State, promises to offer a ‘clean network’ in the United States. This means that every form of Chinese technology will be removed from the American network.
Trump’s stance could backfire
Critics are afraid that the current stance may have consequences for major American companies such as Facebook and Google. These tech companies also collect user data. Trump’s actions may cause other countries to designate Facebook and Google as dangers to their national security.
With the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the United States government can gain access to data from American social networks, which is hardly any different from the Chinese way of doing things.