People should remove TikTok from their phones to protect their personal information from ‘hostile’ threats, according to a senior Tory MP.
Foreign Affairs Committee chair Alicia Kearns said users should get rid of the app “without question” because she suggested the video platform was linked to China’s efforts to build a “Technological Totalitarian State”.
TikTok has long been concerned about its ties to China, as parent company ByteDance was founded in the country and critics fear data could be leaked to the Chinese state.
In December, TikTok head Liz Kanter insisted the platform had not been requested by the Chinese government for UK user data and would not provide it if it was the case.
After the US shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon, Ms Kearns told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “We are naive.
“TikTok presented evidence to my committee saying there was no way for people working in China to have access to Brits’ data.
“But what we’ve seen now is that people working in China for TikTok hacked into European data to track down a journalist’s source.
“Because TikTok discloses the dates that make you most vulnerable: who are you friends with? What are your interests; What interests do you have that you may not wish to disclose publicly? with whom you have private conversations; the places you visit.
“There is a reason China has this app. There’s a reason they buy gay dating apps.
“Our data is a key vulnerability and China is building a totalitarian tech state based on our data.
“So we have to be much more serious about self-protection.
“And yes, while the balloons provide key diplomatic advice for this conversation, our biggest concerns are data penetration, the path dependency China is creating on Chinese companies and how they are intimidating those who have sought refuge. in the USA.” UK and worldwide.
Asked if she advises people to delete TikTok from their phones, Ms Kearns replied: ‘No question.
“I don’t have it on my phone and it’s amazing how many times you talk to people and they say, ‘I’m coming home tonight to have a serious talk with my kids.
“It’s not worth having this vulnerability on your phone, and it’s the ultimate source of data for anyone engaging in hostile efforts.”
“The thing is, now it’s not just me saying, ‘I’m worried, take it down,’ we have evidence that TikTok has been used to track reporters’ sources.
“Everyone should take care of it.”
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