Internet Society backs TikTok ban in gov’t security sector

The National Security Council’s (NSC) proposal to ban the use of TikTok among state security services personnel has gained the support of Virginia-headquartered Internet Society (IS). In an interview on Monday, Winthrop Yu, chairman emeritus and acting spokesperson of IS Philippine Chapter, said that all social media platforms bring a certain amount of risk, but the risk is greatly magnified when using the China-based digital app TikTok. He explained that companies in China are obliged to cooperate with Chinese authorities, especially in matters related to the sharing of information. ‘TikTok has no choice but to surrender all their accumulated information to Chinese security services,’ the IT expert noted. Yu explained that in democratic countries such as the United States, technology companies have the option of refusing the government security sector’s requests for assistance, specifically when they are asked to spy on users. Additionally, American tech companies are required to publicly disclose any assis
tance they extend to government intelligence agencies. He stressed that the same is not true under Beijing, which wields broad powers to compel cooperation from Chinese firms. ‘All phone apps are dangerous and represent a security risk, particularly if the app maker is subservient to its government,’ said Yu. He pointed out that owners of mobile devices downloaded with TikTok, or similar apps, have knowingly or unknowingly already surrendered unfettered access to the phone’s internal camera and microphone. Yu warned that once a technologically capable organization learns that the phone owned by a certain targeted individual carries such an app, it is technically feasible to surreptitiously use that phone to spy on its owner. ‘It sounds like a James Bond movie but it can be done with today’s technology. That phone in your pocket is a very powerful piece of technology,” he said. TikTok Pte. Ltd., known in the Chinese mainland as Douyin, is a subsidiary of Beijing-based ByteDance, founded by Chinese internet ent
repreneur Zhang Yiming. In 2021, several Chinese state entities, including the Cyberspace Administration of China, purchased a minor stake in the company. The IS is an American nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1992 with local chapters around the world, and whose mission is “to promote the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet

Source: Philippines News Agency