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TikTok is now barred from federal devices due to concerns about Chinese spying and manipulation. There’s even a bill in Congress to ban the app outright in the U.S.

  • A lot of concern about TikTok currently comes from the theoretical risk due to TikTok being owned by a Chinese company, and in China, there isn’t much separation between government and private entities, Shira Ovide, writer for The Tech Friend Newsletter at the Washington Post, explained.
  • The current TikTok bans being proposed in states and by public universities are largely symbolic, as people can easily skirt the bans by using TikTok on their personal devices or through their data networks as opposed to the Wi-Fi networks, she said.
  • There are very few national restrictions about what companies can do with users’ data and how much data the companies collect, she stated. A federal privacy law could help protect us against all companies – Chinese and American – that harvest data.
  • There can be more transparency regarding TikTok’s algorithms and how it tracks information, but currently, not much is known about them, according to Ovide.

SEE ALSO | FCC bans Chinese telecom equipment

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