If you are one of the 8.3 million Canadian TikTok users, you may have heard about the fight that the 150 million users in the USA are putting up to stop the app from being banned forever.
By | Ewan Sloan
This recent TikTok spotlight is due to the privacy concerns regarding the Chinese law that allows the Chinese government to access information from TikTok’s parent company ‘ByteDance’ without them or any members of the public knowing.
Although TikTok has assured the US Congress time and time again that they are making every effort to make the app secure, it seems as though it won’t be enough.
The CEO of TikTok, Shou Chew, testified before congress on March 23rd in an attempt to reassure them of these exact worries.
He brought up the fact that TikTok has pledged to relocate all US user data to domestic servers through an effort titled Project Texas, a plan that would also allow US tech firm Oracle to scrutinize TikTok’s source code and act as a third-party monitor.
However, the congress (of which the average age is 58.4) did not seem to have any sympathy for Shou Chew.
During the 5-hour hearing, both sides of the house grilled Chew. Some questions were reasonable, some very much not.
Congress members asked the CEO whether the app “tracks pupil dilation as a form of facial recognition to drive algorithms,” and “can it access the home Wi-Fi network,” and some even assumed that Shou Chew was Chinese and therefore had the best interest of China at heart, and not the USA.
However, the truth is that, Chew, is in fact Singaporean, and went to Harvard Business School.
However unfounded, knowledgeable, or xenophobic these questions were, the bipartisan opposition (meaning both the republican and democratic parties) projects a difficult road ahead.
It seems as though the most likely outcome is the one the public doesn’t want.
Even though poll after poll shows that those under 30 do not want this ban, it is likely that congress will go through with it anyway in order to show China that the US does not support these sorts of overreaching privacy laws.
If this is passed in the states, we can expect a similar ban here in Canada, or at least we will see a rapid decline in the quality of the app after many of our favourite creators are put out of business.