Delete TikTok app to protect your personal data, says Tory MP

People should delete TikTok from their phones to protect their personal data from “hostile” threats, according to a senior Conservative MP.

Alicia Kearns, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee, said users should “without question” get rid of the app as she suggested the video-sharing platform is linked to China’s “technological totalitarian state” efforts. to take.

TikTok has long been concerned about its ties to China because its parent company, ByteDance, was founded in the country, and critics fear that data could be passed on to the Chinese state.

In December, TikTok executive Liz Kanter insisted that the Chinese government had not asked for UK user data on the platform and would not have provided it if it had.

Speaking after the United States released a suspected Chinese spy balloon, Miss Kearns told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: “We are naive.

“TikTok gave evidence to my committee where they said there was no way people working in China could access British people’s data.

“But what we’ve seen now is that people working in China for TikTok hacked European data so it could look for a journalist’s source.

“Because what TikTok does is it gives you your most vulnerable data: who you’re friends with; what are your interests; what interests you have that you do not wish to disclose publicly; with whom you are having private conversations; the sites you go to.

“There’s a reason China has this app. There’s a reason they’re buying gay apps.

“Our data is a critical vulnerability and China is building a totalitarian technological state on the back of our data.

“So we have to be much more serious about protecting ourselves.

“And yes, while balloons are an important diplomatic spike in having this conversation, our biggest concerns are the penetration of data, the path dependence that China is creating on Chinese companies, the a way in which they are intimidating to those who seek refuge in the. UK and worldwide.”

Asked if she is advising people to delete TikTok from their phones, Ms Kearns replied: “No question.

“I don’t have it on my phone and it’s really interesting how often you talk to people and they go ‘I’m going home tonight to have a serious chat with my kids’.

“You don’t deserve to have that vulnerability on your phone and it’s the ultimate source of data for anyone with hostile attempts.

“The fact is, now that this is not just me saying ‘I’m worried, delete it’, we have evidence that TikTok was used to solicit sources for journalists.

“Everybody should be concerned about that.”

A TikTok spokesperson said: “Millions of people across the UK enjoy TikTok, and we want to be clear that they can trust their data.

“We are taking steps such as storing UK user data in our data center operations in Ireland, starting this year; further reduce employee access to data; and minimize data flows outside Europe.

“We have written to Ms Kearns on a number of occasions to ensure she has all the facts and information available and we look forward to engaging constructively with her on these important issues in the near future.”

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