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USA against Tik Tok: security or censorship?


Public officials and employees of the United States, Canada and Great Britain are prohibited from using it. Now the Biden government wants to go for more.

Tik tok is on your phone, surely.

And if not in his, in that of his sons and daughters, nephews or friends of his.

For the few who don't know, it is

an application of Chinese origin for short videos

, most of them funny, which with its success forced the main social networks to rethink their format.

To size it up, a fact: it is the first app that does not belong to Meta (owner of Facebook and Instagram) to exceed 3,000 million downloads in the world.

In Argentina, until the end of 2022, almost two million had downloaded the application on their cell phones.

Just a superficial entertainment?

Well, it seems not so much.

The United States government advanced a few days ago in its goal of banning it in that country.

It already did it a few months ago with its public officials, just like Canada, the European Commission and the United Kingdom, which announced it last week.

The Biden administration denounces that

the application is an instrument of espionage at the service of China

, and pressures the company BiteDance, owner of Tik Tok, to carry out a divestment process, with the threat of its elimination if it does not comply.

A first data serves to frame the topic.

Donald Trump had already tried to ban Tik Tok.

In fact, the decision was stopped by Justice.

Now Biden, who does not have too many coincidences with Trump, is going the same way.


The answer is direct.

In 2022 some employees - it is not known how many - of ByteDance in Beijing

accessed through Tik Tok the contact and communication data of at least two American journalists

and a "small number" of people.

They tracked their movements to see if these journalists were meeting with TikTok employees suspected of leaking information.

One of the chroniclers under surveillance is Emily Baker-White, from


, a magazine and website dedicated to economic information.

The episode was admitted by the company that reported the dismissal of its employees.

In the US they did not fully believe that a "small number of people" were spied on or that the episode was a personal initiative of the fired employees.

However, the possible ban on Tik Tok

raises additional concern


This is how journalist Casey Newton wrote in his


newsletter (perhaps the most important on technology in the US): “The implication of the government making specific decisions to eliminate social applications for reasons of national security makes me deeply uncomfortable.

The ban would remove a large amount of speech, including political speech, from the web”


He added: “It seems likely to further divide the Internet, as more governments threaten to ban foreign apps in the name of national security, regardless of whether or not they have been determined to pose a legitimate risk.”

To ask yourself: “What will stop India, which banned Tik Tok before anyone else, from banning Facebook or Twitter for similar reasons?”

To finally raise the most important question: how to be sure that

"doesn't this serve as a pretext to repress internal dissent?"

The Tik Tok crisis derives then from a problem of espionage in a matter of freedom of movement of content and speech, essential to democracy.

For more than a few specialists, if the US government were to move forward with its ban, it would set a high-risk precedent.

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-03-20

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