Fabrice Epelboin: “By installing TikTok, we offer access to all our data”. The popularity of TikTok has exploded in recent years, especially among young people. The platform now has over a billion users worldwide, which raises questions of security and privacy. According to Fabrice Epelboin, the threat is even greater because, for the first time, it comes from China.
When users install applications on their mobile phones, they generally give them almost unlimited access to the data that can circulate on their phone. This can include private conversations, location data, and other personal information. Applications can also exploit security vulnerabilities to access this data without the user’s consent. The Pegasus case is a recent example.
Fabrice Epelboin explains that TikTok is more dangerous than other social media platforms because the threat comes from China. The collection of personal data by American companies such as Facebook and Google has already raised concerns, but the collection of data by a Chinese company raises questions of national security. According to him, the exploitation of security vulnerabilities could lead to targeted spying, which is more serious than simple data collection for advertising purposes.
The launch of a Senate inquiry into TikTok is therefore an “excellent thing”, as it will force policymakers to take into account the reality of these security vulnerabilities and the dissemination of personal data. Fabrice Epelboin points out, however, that policymakers cannot do much to protect populations from data collection by foreign companies. Individual users can protect their own data by choosing not to use TikTok.
In the end, the threat posed by TikTok and other Chinese technology companies is likely to remain a concern for policymakers and individual users. However, awareness of these risks is an important first step towards safer and more responsible use of technology.
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