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Why you should think twice before downloading TikTok

3AW Breakfast

Data experts have warned that popular Chinese-owned social media platform, TikTok, poses a risk to national security, and the Australian government is facing increasing calls to ban the app.

Senior analyst at Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s International Cyber Policy Centre, Tom Uren, said the data collected by TikTok is a concern.

“The Chinese state has, for a long time, been gathering all sorts of data on people,” he told Kate Stevenson and Stephen Quartermain, filling in for Ross and John.

“The theory is they’re creating a huge database to mine and try and identify either spies or people that they could recruit.”

Mr Uren said while there is some individual risk associated with downloading TikTok, on a national security level, the risk is much more serious.

“For most people, using TikTok individually is not a problem, but for the country as a whole, giving up a whole lot of personal data of all our citizens is a problem,” he said.

“As an individual, I wouldn’t install TikTok, but my kids have TikTok and I don’t worry too much about it yet.

“It could we know where you are, your pattern of life, who you’re friends with, what you like, now more concerning these days is perhaps your face.

“They could potentially track you wherever you are.”

Some countries have recently taken action to ban Chinese-owned apps, and there are calls for Australia to do the same.

“India, for example, banned 50 or 80 Chinese apps for this reason,” Mr Uren said.

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3AW Breakfast