The TikTok Ban is a Ticking Clock on Privacy

The TikTok Ban is a Ticking Clock on Privacy

For over a billion active users of the social media platform TikTok, the talk about the app being banned in the US is already old news by now. An attempt to ban the so-called “Chinese app” has already failed under the Trump administration, and it isn’t looking better for the TikTok ban attempt now.

But, the talk about the dangers of social media platforms and how they store data of customers around the world is just the tip of the iceberg. The US Senate bill behind the hearing reads much more sinister than anything said during the questioning of Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of TikTok.

Overall, 3 serious things are proposed:

  1. The US will have the right to ban any product from an “adversary country”
  2. Any country can be added or removed from the list
  3. People accessing information from those countries can face 20 years in prison

This means that those who would wish to access TikTok via VPN would face dire consequences. Ironically, the bill is even more severe than what China is imposing on its citizens. That is why it will be essential not to use a VPN that is US-based and use providers like Le VPN that have their base in Europe.

Data Security with Social Media

The TikTok Ban is a Ticking Clock on Privacy. | Le VPN

Anyone even remotely familiar with the Internet knows that all companies want private data. What you like to watch and what you like to buy is key to knowing how to sell something to you.

But, the danger of social media is not just tailored ads. These ads are annoying and only become a real problem when the company running the social media platform is hacked. What is a problem is information you share on purpose over social media.

Few people understand how much can be taken from videos of their faces, samples of their voices, or photos of where they live. A skilled cybercriminal can target someone directly and use that information to attempt to steal their identity.

Regretfully, with networks like Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube, it is quite hard to be expressive and gain popularity without revealing how you look or talk. Still, users should focus on preventing others from gaining any additional private information.

Primarily, this means not using your real name in any account. Having a pen name has become the standard online for a good reason. Simply use a pseudonym and a fake location cited on your phone.

Additionally, you should consider making a separate email address for every social media that you have. At least, you should not use the email on your apps for sending and receiving regular mail.

USA Doubles Down on the Splinternet

Nations like Russia and China have been criticized for a while for limiting the access of their citizens to the Internet. Companies like Google, Meta, and Microsoft have long had difficulties even operating in these markets. The official argument was that if their citizens had access to information, they wouldn’t be as welcoming to the policies of these countries.

Now, the United States is doubling down on the same issue. If the proposed bill passes, those accessing the Internet from the US will not be able to see content from Russia, China, or Venezuela.

Because premium VPN providers have servers virtually everywhere in the world, such an action is all but useless. Any person who wants to communicate or consume media from another country can do that.

What will be impacted is private businesses that need to work in the open. Those who wish to work abroad from Venezuela, which is not a terrible idea in itself, would be barred from communicating with the US.

Even worse, companies in the United States that import goods produced in China would be unable to communicate with their partners in the Asian nation. That will only drive consumer prices up in America, which still has China as its main trading partner despite the animosity.

The TikTok Algorithm Works Both Ways

For any user familiar with TikTok, each will explain what the app contains differently. The algorithm works on your emotions and will show you only the things you love and the things you are passionately against.

Many users will see cute animals, amazing locations, or slews of memes varying in quality. There is also no lack of sexualized content, which by default targets the younger male audience as they are most interested in it. This is the main critique of the app, which has a hard time protecting vulnerable groups from damaging content.

But, for many on the app, TikTok is the prime source of news on different topics. Recently, the US Congress representative from North Carolina, Jeff Jackson, has been making waves on the platform with his calm and detailed views about his experiences as a new congressman and the topics discussed in Congress. He has gained 1.5M followers, half of which are his constituency.

Because of this effect of the platform, the 150M USA users have been informed on the subject before any news has had the chance to cover it. Also, unlike traditional news, it has been covered from many angles by various people that have various personal politics.

Nothing but Ink on Paper

Although nothing is impossible in today’s politics, the chances of the so-called “TikTok bill” passing the US Senate and later Congress is next to impossible. And, even if it does, it will do little to stop those mindful of their online presence.

With a premium VPN provider like Le VPN, it is possible to move locations in seconds and for just a few dollars a year. Combine that with a good firewall and anti-spyware software, and there is little anyone can do to spy on you, however much they want it.

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Written by Vuk Mujović @VukMujovic

Vuk Mujović is the founder of MacTíre Consulting, an analyst, data management expert, and a long-term writer on all things business & tech. He authored blogs, articles, and opinion pieces aimed to help both companies and individuals achieve growth without compromising their security. Vuk is a regular guest author to Le VPN Blog since January 2018, where he gives his expert opinion on the topics related to cybersecurity, privacy, online freedom, and personal data protection. He also often shares his tips and best practices in relation to internet security and digital safety of private individuals and small businesses, including some additional applications of using a VPN service.

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