Brits should take down TikTok to protect data from China, MP says

All Brits should remove TikTok from their phones to protect themselves from spying by communist China, a senior MP has claimed.

Alicia Kearns, the Conservative Party MP who heads the UK’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee, warned on Sunday that there was now significant evidence that TikTok was being used to harvest the data of individual users in the UK at intelligence purposes.

The MP claims such information gathering poses a significant threat to people in the UK, with the Conservative Party politician advising all Britons to remove the app from their phones to protect themselves.

“Now it’s not just me saying ‘I’m worried, delete it’, we have evidence that TikTok has been used to track down sources for journalists,” she said. said British broadcaster Sky News during an interview.

Kearns described TikTok officials as telling her committee that there was no way for workers in China to get their hands on the data of individuals in Britain, which she now believes is what is not true.

“[W]what TikTok does is give away the data that makes you most vulnerable: who are you friends with; what are your interests; what interests you may not wish to disclose publicly; with whom you have private conversations; the places you go,” Kearns remarked. “There’s a reason China has this app.”

“Our data is a key vulnerability and China is building a technological totalitarian state on the back of our data, so we need to protect ourselves much more seriously,” she added.

The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee went on to say that while the mysterious Chinese balloons hovering over western skies were also a concern, issues such as ‘data penetration’ and reliance on tech companies Chinese in everyday life are ultimately much more important.

Kearns’ advice that Britons should “definitely” remove TikTok from their phones is not at all unusual at this stage, with US and European authorities now regularly warning of the social media app’s ill effects.

US representatives, for example, have frequently criticized the platform, with Democratic Representative Seth Moulton becoming one of the latest US politicians to criticize the app last week, describing it as a “threat” to American families and national security.

“[L]And me, just speaking for a second as a father, I don’t want an app that steals my daughter’s data and influences her behavior on her phone,” he told CNN. “That’s exactly what TikTok is doing. And so, it’s a threat, not just to our national security, writ large, but frankly, to American families.

Meanwhile, the Dutch government has banned the social media site from being installed on government devices, even advising its own officials to stay off the platform for fear of its data-gathering potential.

Dutch authorities are reported to have told departments last week to ‘suspend the use of TikTok for the government until TikTok has adjusted its data protection policy’, with the state to cease all advertising and communication on the China-owned platform.

Follow Peter Caddle on Twitter: @Peter_Caddle
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