Australian Member of Parliament (MP) Andrew Hastie has labeled TikTok an “attractive database” for the Chinese government to collect data on young Australians. According to the MP, the Chinese communist regime can use the app to learn the preferences, habits, and psychology of millions of Australian youth.
“To the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), TikTok is an attractive database of the habits, psychology, personal preferences of over one million young Australians,” said the West Australia MP. “That is powerful intelligence to have on our future political, military, business, and social leaders.”
The Beijing-based social media app is one of the fastest-growing globally, with more than 800 million active users. It allows users to capture, edit, upload, and share short videos.
Speaking to The Epoch Times, Hastie, who is also a member of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, said “there are serious concerns” about the usage of the data TikTok collects.
He also said that the US sees TikTok as a security threat. The US legislature recently took action against TikTok. The app could soon to be subject to new laws aimed at reducing its influence in the US after receiving criticism from members of Congress. “As our closest ally, I welcome the news that lawmakers there are considering these risks in light of their national and personal security,” Hastie said.
The app runs on artificial intelligence technology built by its parent company ByteDance, which is also based in Beijing. The technology can not only track but also learn the users' personal preferences.
“Our country is right to be concerned about how their data might be used,” Hastie explained. “We should each consider our own position and that of our children.”
In 2017, the Chinese government passed a law that requires Chinese-based businesses to share information with the government. The National Intelligence Law, drafted by President Xi Jinping's administration, states that local companies should “support, assist, and cooperate with state intelligence work.”
In simpler terms, the law gives the government access to data, including personal information, stored by companies based in China. This law is the reason there's a growing concern for technology originating from China.
Congressman Josh Hawley has been one of the most prominent American critics of TikTok, saying in the las week, “TikTok is monitoring users' keystrokes, following their search histories, and tracking them around the web like the rest of Big Tech, but not for profit. They're doing it to serve their bosses in Beijing,” and calling for something to be done about it.