TikTok or TikNot?

TikTok or TikNot? For this week’s Tuesday w/ Tim I weigh in on your kid’s favorite social platform

I’m Tim Guim. I’m the President and CEO of PCH Technologies. Today is Tuesday, and with that in mind, I wanted to share two warnings with you.

One. I enjoy posting some of the things that are on my mind with a self-imposed deadline of Tuesday, so I’m going to try it again this week. You have been warned.

And Two. Tik Tok.

Or should I say #TikTok…you know, to be more “on-trend.”

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So here’s a quick overview of TikTok, I’ll leave out the boring stuff.

  1. TikTok is an app for making and sharing short videos
  2. TikTok is very (very) popular
  3. Oh, wait…let me re-phrase #1…TikTok is an app from China; it is owned by ByteDance, which has been reported in various news sources (like Forbes.com, NYTimes.com, businessinsider.com, etc.)..to be influenced by the Chinese Communist Party.

This little video app has given China the means to push content directly onto the phones of millions of citizens in America. TikTok has had problems before —but not like this. I know that they say “there is no ‘bad press,'” but TikTok has been the focus of four separate security breach stories in just one week.

First, news hit that Apple’s iOS 14 caught TikTok secretly accessing the user’s clipboards. Accessing the user’s clipboard means that they had access to take the info you typed when you make a keystroke, simple things like texts, emails, bank account numbers, passwords, yeah.

They promised to stop; they didn’t stop.

Then the Indian Government banned TikTok on the grounds of national security. To be fair, 58 other Chinese apps were subject to the same sanctions.

News story #3 was that the US Secretary of State confirmed that the US was looking at banning the platform. TikTok and Hong Kong-based tech company Huawei were both being targeted for the same security reasons.

Then #4, at the end of June, but to more easily understand this one, it’s best to know that TikTok operated as essentially two companies.

  1. In China: where it operates a Douyin and is highly restricted and censored. 
  2. Everywhere else: where it operates as the TikTok we’ve come to know.

Operating as two sperate companies, they can be active and service their Chinese users, while maintaining the millions of users outside of China. They essentially have access to all of the data from both groups of users. While ByteDance said they are not sharing it or making it accessible to the Chinese Government, their past activities have made those statements very hard to believe.

Then, as of yesterday (07/20/2020), according to Channel E2e (article link below), ByteDance announced that they are moving their headquarters to London to, once again, further themselves from China. Based on their history, it seems like more smoke and mirrors.

I don’t believe that the US will ban TikTok; it just has too many users, and while the threat of data theft and misuse is genuine, US users will continue to use the app. My 2-cents on this…don’t have TikTok on a business phone, don’t have or use the TikTok App or account on any phone with banking, trading, email, or personal information. If your kids want it, and they don’t have any sensitive information on their phones, what the heck – why not! When it comes to business and business phones, to be as concise as possible, I’m saying that as an IT professional, don’t put it on any phone or device that you use for work in any way. If you’re in an industry such as health care, government, or financial where you need to be compliant, even having the app on a device that also has company info on it can create an issue.

You did okay before TikTok; you’ll be better off without it.

For more information, visit pchtechnologies.com. We’ll be posting more about TikTok and Byte Dance so you can stay on top of what’s happening.

Channel E2e Article: https://www.channele2e.com/technology/security/tiktok-banned-where-list/