TikTok has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. It was recently banned in India by Google and iOS, preventing millions of users from downloading and installing the app. Well, it was restored soon enough, but now the app is back on the radar. This time, it’s the Congress leader Shashi Tharoor.
While speaking during the Zero Hour in Lok Sabha, Tharoor decided to draw the attention of the House to India’s vulnerability to data leakage and surveillance. He says it’s due to the absence of a robust data protection framework.
Before talking about TikTok, Tharoor went on to talk about more and more Indian are not coming online and how they’re gaining access to smartphones, social media, apps, and more. Obviously, more the people start using these services, the more data is going to get generated. And that’s precisely what Tharoor pointed out.
“In the age of smartphones, apps, social media, and the internet, India is generating mind-boggling data, and it can be exploited by vested interests to engage in profiling, to make profits and for political control,” he said.
He then noted how the federal regulators imposed a fine of 5.7 million dollars on the social media app TikTok for illegally collecting data on children. He further made it a point to add that the Chinese Government receives data from TikTok through the state-owned China Telecom.
Tharoor took the time to describe it as a “national security issue” and urged the government to introduce a comprehensive legal framework and protect the fundamental right to privacy.
Allegation of collecting and sharing user data is indeed a serious matter for TikTok, so they have shared an official statement with MensXP. Here’s what TikTok has to say about Shashi Tharoor’s allegations –
“These claims are simply untrue. The privacy and security of our users is a top priority for TikTok, and we abide by local laws and regulations in the markets where we operate. Our Indian users’ data is stored in the U.S. and Singapore at industry-leading third-party data centers. TikTok does not operate in the People’s Republic of China and their government has no access to TikTok users’ data, nor does it have any existing partnership with China Telecom.”
Obviously, it’s hard to draw any conclusion and say that TikTok is indeed collecting data from its users and sending it to China. But considering the fact that it’s a mere possibility makes millions of Indians vulnerable to data leak.