China blasts US 'attacks' on TikTok
The United States, Canada, United Kingdom and European Union have banned TikTok from government devices.
Beijing on Thursday denounced the United States' “unwarranted attacks” on TikTok, after an ultimatum from the Biden administration urging the application's Chinese parent company to part ways with it, or risk being punished. ban on American soil.
Following the lead of several Western powers, namely the United States, Canada and the European Union, the United Kingdom has banned in turn the app on government devices.
In this battle where Washington invokes national security reasons to attack the platform of short videos, very popular with young people, Beijing has challenged the first world power to provide proof of its allegations.
According to the Wall Street Journal and other American dailies, the White House has issued an ultimatum: if TikTok stays in the fold from ByteDance, its China-based parent company, it will be banned in the United States.
TikTok confirmed to AFP that the US government had indeed recommended that the app be handed over by its owner.
Amid intense Sino-Chinese rivalry American on commerce and new technologies, many American elected officials and leaders say that the application poses a threat to national security.
TikTok is accused by its critics of giving Chinese authorities access to user data around the world, which the application strongly denies.
The United States should stop spreading false information on data security issues, stop unwarranted attacks [against TikTok] and provide an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for foreign businesses, Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson, said Thursday. from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“[Washington] has so far provided no evidence that TikTok threatens the national security of the United States.
— Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin
The White House has already banned officials of federal institutions from having it app on their smart phones, under a law ratified in early January.
TikTok stores US user data on servers located in the United States. The app admitted that employees based in China had access to it, but under a strict and limited framework, and not the Chinese government.
If the goal is to protect national security, a divestiture does not solve the problem: [the fact that the application] changes ownership will not mean the imposition of new restrictions on the flow of data or access to these, reacted a spokeswoman for TikTok, contacted by AFP.
“The best way to address national security concerns is to use American protection systems user data from the country, with strong control and third-party verifications, which we are already in the process of putting in place.
— A spokeswoman for TikTok
The European Commission and the Canadian government also recently banned the app from the work devices of their civil servants.
In London, Minister of State Oliver Dowden announced Thursday a similar measure with immediate effect, as a precaution.
Given the particular risk around government devices, which may contain sensitive information, it is prudent and proportionate to restrict the use of certain apps, he told British MPs.
< p class="e-p">TikTok said it was disappointed with the UK decision, adding that it had begun implementing a comprehensive plan to further protect our European user data, which includes storing user data British in our European centres, according to a statement sent to AFP.
Chinese President Xi Jinping a few days ago condemned the policy of containment, encirclement and repression against China implemented by Western countries led by the United States.
< p class="e-p">Remarks made against the backdrop of American attacks against Chinese technology flagships such as telecom equipment manufacturer Huawei. The United States is also imposing restrictions on semiconductor exports to Chinese companies.
TikTok's popularity has exploded in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, well in beyond teenagers. The app has over 100 million users in the United States.
It has surpassed YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook in time spent by users in recent years. American adults on every platform, and is now hot on Netflix, according to Insider Intelligence.
The powerful American civil rights association ACLU has opposed the bills against enforcement, in the name of free speech.