CCP-Linked TikTok Find For Spying On Users

( In June President Biden revoked the Trump-era executive order banning the Chinese-owned apps TikTok and WeChat within the US. President Trump issued this order citing concerns that these social media apps enabled the Chinese to spy on users and therefore posed a national security threat.

In revoking the executive order, President Biden replaced it with one calling for a review of apps controlled by foreign adversaries to determine whether or not they posed a threat to national security. The Commerce Department was authorized to immediately begin that review.

Last week the Netherlands’ Data Protection Authority announced that has fined TikTok 750,000 euros ($885,000 US) for not providing a privacy statement in Dutch, saying many children who use the wildly popular app would be unable to understand the information.

The Agency said that by not offering a Dutch-language privacy statement, the Chinese-owned TikTok “failed to provide an adequate explanation of how the app collects, processes and uses personal data.”

TikTok has lodged an objection to the fine.

In response to the fine, TikTok said in a statement that its privacy policy and a “shorter and more accessible version” geared toward younger users has been available in Dutch since July 2020. What’s more TikTok said this was accepted by the Dutch Data Protection Authority as a solution to the problem.

TikTok also argued that it has made other changes to safeguard the privacy of minors over the last 18 months – including setting accounts of 13 to 15-year-olds to private by default, and only permitting direct messaging for users sixteen years or older.

In June, the Dutch consumer group Consumentenbond, along with a foundation called Take Back Your Privacy, announced that it was launching a 1.5 billion euro ($1.8 billion US) claim against TikTok alleging that is unlawfully harvests the personal data of users. They are demanding that TikTok pay damages to Dutch children who use the app.

While this news does not necessarily bolster the Trump Administration’s claims that TikTok poses a national security risk, it certainly does call into question just how sensible it is to permit an app from a hostile foreign nation from having access to personal data.