Could Tiktok find a UK ban?

There have been a number of changes through the past few months in the tech world that could have a big impact on a growing audience – a prime example can be found within mobile gambling as recent changes within the UK to reduce the number of problem gamblers during the pandemic. One change has been to ban all credit card betting online, with another giving the Gamstop initiative more authority as it is now mandatory for all operators registered within the UK – despite this there are a number of betting sites not on gamstop that have been made ready before the launch of sporting events across the country again – but this hasn’t been the only news in the tech sector that could affect a big number of people.

(Image from telegraph.co.uk)

The most recent news has been around the popular video sharing platform of TikTok, with growing recent focuses around data protection and data privacy amidst the whole situation currently occurring in Hong Kong and the UKs response, a few clever techies decided to take a deep dive into the app which is Chinese owned to see if there was anything untoward happening, and what they found has unsettled some people. The concerns found are with what the API has access too;

  • Phone hardware (CPU type, number and IDs, as well as memory usage and disk space etc)
  • Other applications you have installed on the device (or may have even deleted)
  • Your network information (IP, MAC address, WiFi info)
  • If your device is rooted/jailbroken or not
  • Some variants abused GPS if a location-tag post had ever been made – pinging location every 30 seconds
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We’ve already seen a ban of the app in India, which also subsequently banned a number of other Chinese based apps too, but the rumblings most recently come from Australia and the US who are also both considering a ban of the app. There had already been changes in the US restricting the use of the app on governmentally issued smart devices earlier on in the year – with the risk of it being used as ‘chinese spyware’ as said in a recent interview, it’s possible that there could be a very fast change in attitude toward the app.

Although TikTok has already restricted access to Hong Kong because of the recent security law put into place, the UK support for HK citizens and the current relationship with China could cause popular opinion of the app during all of this to fall off very quickly, especially during this period of time where data privacy and security are being held to a much higher regard. It has been suggested that TikTok has over 800 million active users worldwide, a big hit of that will have already been made with the ban in India as it has been suggested that 467 million of those downloads are within the country – this information has certainly taken hold since originally posted widely on July 1st, and with pressure coming from other countries we may see a quick shift in the UK too.

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