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ShareAugust 12, 2020 - China would like to include restrictions on TikTok and WeChat apps - announced by Washington - on the agenda of upcoming talks with the United States on Phase 1 trade deal.
This was reported by sources linked to the preparations for the talks, cited by the Bloomberg agency, according to which Chinese officials intend to raise the issue of the executive orders to ban signed by the US President Donald Trump that have affected the two popular platforms, in addition to purchases of US agricultural products by China and at the exchange rate between the yuan and the dollar.
Bill Gates' bitter cup
However, there are no indications on the objectives that China intends to achieve in this regard. TikTok is scary even if apparently harmless: it allows the sharing of short videos and is mainly oriented towards the youngest. But President Trump sees it as an outpost of Chinese digital espionage and wants to force it to sell its American assets by mid-September. In negotiations for the purchase there is Microsoft, so far absent on the social scene, on input from the White House. A purchase that co-founder Bill Gates called "a bitter goblet".
Wsj: TikTok has violated privacy
Although fears of espionage may seem excessive, some privacy problems emerge: according to the Wall Street Journal, TikTok would have collected, for 15 months, until last November, the mac addresses of smartphones with an Android operating system , without users being able to disable it, violating Google's privacy rules. The Android operating system, in 2018, was installed on 383 million smartphones sold, that is 86% of the market.
The mac code (for example: 00-08-74-4C-7F-1D) is an identifier that is assigned by the manufacturers to each network card, and that allows to uniquely identify a single device. Mac addresses are commonly used for advertising purposes, but may give access to more invasive forms of tracking.
A ByteDance spokesperson said in this regard that "the current version of TikTok does not collect mac addresses" and reiterated: "We have never provided US user data to the Chinese government, nor would we if we were asked".
Investigation in France, based in Dublin
Problems also on the privacy front of European citizens: CNIL, the French authority for the protection of personal data, has opened an investigation on TikTok, following the appeal of a French citizen who had requested the removal of a video and had been invited to exercise his rights directly to the Chinese ByteDance.
CNIL now wants to verify compliance with European regulations on the protection of personal data and compliance with the requirements with the imminent opening, announced at the beginning of the year, of a branch in Dublin and which will have to be the registered office of ByteDance in Europe . The Chinese company also announced that there will be a datacenter for managing the app's data in Europe, in Ireland.