MP urges Brits to remove TikTok amid spying and personal data concerns (PA/Canva) (Image: PA/Canva)
Users are urged to remove popular video-sharing app TikTok amid concerns about how the Chinese company that owns it is using personal data.
Conservative MP Alicia Kearns, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee, said users should “without hesitation” remove the app from their devices, suggesting that TikTok is linked to China’s efforts to build a “totalitarian tech state”. .
Ever since the app has been popular, there have been concerns about its ties to China due to its parent company, ByteDance.
Critics say that personal data collected by the company could then be passed on to the Chinese government.
Speaking after the US shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon, Kearns told Sky’s Sophy Ridge: “We’re being naive.
“TikTok turned over evidence to my committee where they said there was no way people working in China could access Brits’ data.
“But what we’ve seen now is that people working in China for TikTok hacked into European data so they could trace the source of a journalist.
“Because what TikTok does is give away the data that makes you most vulnerable: who you are friends with; what are your interests; what interests you have that you do not want publicly disclosed; who you are having private conversations with; the places you go
“There is a reason China has this app. There’s a reason they’re buying gay dating apps.
“Our data is a key vulnerability and China is building a totalitarian technological state on the basis of our data.
“So we have to take protecting ourselves much more seriously.
(Canva) Kearns says ‘we need to take protecting ourselves more seriously’. (Image: Canvas)
“And yes, while the balloons are a major diplomatic spike in the opportunity to have this conversation, our biggest concerns are data penetration, the route dependency that China is creating on Chinese companies, the way they are intimidating who sought refuge in the UK and around the world.
When asked if he’s asking users to remove the app, Kearns replied: “Definitely.
“I don’t have it on my phone and it’s fascinating how often you talk to people and they say ‘I’m going home tonight to have a serious talk with my kids.’
“That vulnerability is not worth having on your phone and it is the ultimate data source for anyone with hostile endeavors.
“The fact is now it’s not just me saying ‘I’m worried, delete it’, we have evidence that TikTok has been used to trace journalists’ sources.
“Everyone should be worried about that.”