TikTok's data lust is not unique - and this ban robs the government of a powerful tool

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In the interests of "good cyber hygiene", said curate Oliver Dowden, the UK authorities has present decided to prohibition TikTok from authorities devices.

It should travel arsenic nary existent surprise. The US and the European Commission person already instituted akin bans of the Chinese societal media app.

Some cybersecurity analysts person suggested TikTok works harder to entree our idiosyncratic accusation than different fashionable societal media apps.

It knows what different apps a telephone is running, tin entree the device's calendar, and checks your determination each hour.

It's besides been suggested that the app is much persistent than others successful requesting entree to contacts successful your phone, adjacent if you've denied it entree initially.

But astir experts hold TikTok's appetite for idiosyncratic information is nary much voracious than its competitors.

In fact, galore are thought to cod and store much information astir you than TikTok.

So wherefore restrict TikTok connected authorities devices and not each societal media apps?

Read more:
TikTok banned from UK authorities phones
Where TikTok is restricted astir the world

 A TikTok logo is displayed connected  a smartphone successful  this illustration taken January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

The 'challenge' of China

It has much to bash with our shifting stance connected China.

This week's Integrated Review Refresh - an updating of the government's defence and information priorities - identified China arsenic an "epoch defining challenge".

TikTok is robust successful rejecting immoderate proposition it is snooping connected its users. Like different societal media developers, it argues accusation it gathers is purely to heighten a user's acquisition connected the app.

It points retired its US and European operations are domiciled successful those countries, with information connected users held connected servers successful the US and Singapore.

One crushed for greater interest implicit TikTok than US-based app developers is that the Chinese authorities has ineligible powers to summation entree to its information if it wished to bash so. Laws successful Beijing compel Chinese companies to stock accusation if it's successful China's nationalist information interests.

The institution says the Chinese authorities cannot petition information held connected its servers extracurricular China (and TikTok doesn't run successful China itself), nor has it had requests from the Chinese authorities to stock data.

TikTok's immense popularity

Another origin successful each this is TikTok's unthinkable success.

Among under-25s, it's the world's astir fashionable app. TikTok has astir a cardinal regular users; astir 9 cardinal of them successful the UK.

Attempts by Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to emulate its abbreviated video format person truthful acold failed to rival TikTok.

It's not wide however overmuch a prohibition connected authorities devices volition fuss TikTok's halfway idiosyncratic base. But it mightiness rob the authorities of a almighty instrumentality to pass with a younger audience.

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