September 20, 2020

Volume X, Number 264

September 18, 2020

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September 17, 2020

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Privacy Tip #247 – TikTok in Multiple Cross Hairs

I have never been a fan of TikTok [view related post]. In general, I do not trust any Chinese technology companies because of the influence and requirements the Chinese government wields over them. The Chinese government has been stealing U.S.-based companies’ intellectual property for decades, has required U.S.-based companies to provide computer code in order to do business in China, and represses free speech on social media.

TikTok is a prime example of how important it is to monitor the apps that we and our children download. The newest apps become a craze overnight, everyone starts talking about them, and to be cool, we download them without reviewing the privacy policy and terms of use. Click, click “I agree” and before you know it a foreign government is amassing additional large amounts of data about you or your children that you are freely giving to it.

Unfortunately, many TikTok users are children, and they are even less likely to understand the risks of downloading the app. TikTok is facing as many as 10 lawsuits that allege it has been using facial recognition technology and collecting biometric information of its users, particularly children, without parental consent. The lawsuits were consolidated yesterday in Illinois.

My recommendation is to delete TikTok from your phone and ask your children to do the same. I have been saying this for a long time, and if you don’t care about my recommendation, then consider that the U.S. Senate, which, following approval of a similar bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, unanimously approved a bill yesterday that requires all U.S. government employees to delete the TikTok app from their phones due to national security concerns. It is expected that the President will sign the measure into law. Now this is what bipartisan cooperation is all about. At the moment, the law only applies to federal workers, but it is a sound measure that private citizens may wish to consider.

The President will no doubt sign the bill into law as TikTok is in his crosshairs as well, and he has stated that he is on a mission to ban TikTok from the U.S.

Copyright © 2020 Robinson & Cole LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 220

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About this Author

Linn F. Freedman, Robinson Cole Law Firm, Cybersecurity and Litigation Law Attorney, Providence
Partner

Linn Freedman practices in data privacy and security law, cybersecurity, and complex litigation. She provides guidance on data privacy and cybersecurity compliance to a full range of public and private clients across all industries, such as construction, education, health care, insurance, manufacturing, real estate, utilities and critical infrastructure, marine, and charitable organizations. Linn is a member of the firm's Business Litigation Group and chairs its Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team. She is also a member of the Financial Services Cyber-Compliance Team (CyFi ...

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