The Canadian Intelligence Service Claims That TikTok Is a Strategy by China to Dominate Data

The Canadian Intelligence Service Claims That TikTok Is a Strategy by China to Dominate Data

Canada's security agency is raising concerns about the use of TikTok, warning users that their data could be accessed by the Chinese government.

David Vigneault, the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has highlighted China's clear strategy to obtain personal information across the globe, using advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data analytics. 

This issue is related to the US governments efforts to regulate TikTok, with Congress recently passing a bill that would ban the app unless it separates from its parent company, ByteDance, that is based in Beijing. 

Vigneault said in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) that "it is evident" that the popular social network is designed for the data of its users to be available to Chinese authorities. He explained that although this data may seem harmless because many TikTok users are young, China is thinking ahead. "If, for any reason, someone becomes a target of China, they will have a large amount of information" about that person, Vigneault said. Vigneault warned that China is working on artificial intelligence projects using data captured by its advanced technology.

"The ultimate goal is always to protect the interests of the Chinese Communist Party. And from that point of view, for different reasons, it is a threat to our way of life," he added. Last week, CSIS released its annual report, which paid special attention to threats from China, Russia, Iran, and India. Interestingly, the only mention of TikTok in the report refers to the arrest by Canadian security services of Zakarya Rida Hussein for posting videos related to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State on the social network.

Instead the document warned that China has passed new laws requiring Chinese citizens worldwide to assist their country's intelligence services. At the end of last year, the Canadian government launched a national security review of the risks posed by TikTok, which has not yet concluded. In February 2023, the Canadian government banned federal employees from accessing TikTok from official mobile devices because it posed an "unacceptable" risk to their privacy and security.

TikTok has previously stated that Chinese staff cannot access data from US and European users, undertaking restructuring efforts to isolate user data from China. Despite assurances by TikTok, a number of concerns remain, with doubts about the effectiveness of these measures in safeguarding user data - these have not been enough to satisfy a number of governments.