Casey Newton from Platformer on what appears to be the impending banning of TikTok in the US.

But I’m deeply uncomfortable about the implications of governments making one-off decisions to eliminate social apps on national security grounds, while at the same time taking a pass on national privacy legislation and other regulations that would take a more systematic approach to protecting Americans’ security.

The quote above is in relation to the US government creating a one-off ban for TikTok, without actually building more privacy into the whole system. I get being deeply uncomfortable because a one-off ban without better privacy laws shows that the US move isn’t about the privacy of it’s citizens, it’s about not liking China.

Recently we found out that the FBI bought location data on it’s citizens. No ByteDance isn’t a saint. They used their app to track journalists and are pushing pro-China messages but for the US government to say that ByteDance is so bad that it must ban their app without looking at their own government infiltration into the privacy of their citizens, or without reigning in the tech giants collecting data like Facebook and Google reveals that the US is merely xenophobic. As Casey says, dropping TikTok will move more people to these US tech giants as they look for ways to earn money again.

They’re throwing up a straw argument about national security and caring about their citizens to let them double down on xenophobia.

If they truly cared about privacy, we’d see sweeping legislation supported across party lines that made US citizen data more protected than it is under law now. Unfortunately, there are thousands of lobbyists out there for the tech giants talking about how bad ByteDance and China are and how US tech should be pushed and exempt from any privacy laws.

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One response to “The Impending US Ban on TikTok has little to do with Privacy”

  1. […] as I said, the impending bans on TikTok have little to do with privacy. It’s all about optics and […]