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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Banning TikTok takes a big tool away from Chinese surveillance work

Trump administration is ‘very seriously taking a look’ at TikTok, WeChat and some other apps coming out of China, US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien says

WASHINGTON : Banning mobile applications such as TikTok by countries like India takes a big tool away from the surveillance work of China, a top White House official said on Tuesday.

The Trump administration is "very seriously taking a look" at TikTok, WeChat and some other apps coming out of China, US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien told Fox News Radio in an interview.

"India has already banned those apps, as you know. And if they lose India and the United States, they lose some western European countries, that takes a big tool away from the espionage work or the surveillance work of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party)," he said in response to a question on the dangers posed by apps like TikTok.

"The kids who are using TikTok -- and it can be a lot of fun -- but there are a lot of other social media platforms they could use. TikTok is getting facial recognition on you," O'Brien said.

"They are getting all of your personal, private data, your most intimate data. They are getting to know who your friends are, who your parents are. They can map all your relationships," he added.

All the information is going straight to massive super computers in the cloud in China, O'Brien said, adding, "So China is going to know everything about you. They are going to have biometrics on you. You ought to be very careful regarding who you give such personal information to." The Trump administration, he said, is looking not just at TikTok but at WeChat and some other Chinese apps as well, because the Chinese are veracious consumers of America's personal data.

"They will either try and get you to give it to them for free through WeChat or TikTok -- if they cannot get it that way, they will steal it," O'Brien said.

China, he said, has hacked into Marriott and stolen the personal data of hundreds of millions of people, including their passport numbers.

"They have hacked into Experian and other credit rating agencies to get most intimate credit details. They have hacked into Anthem healthcare so that they can get medical details.

"So this is not just an advertiser trying to find out what you are interested in searching for on Google so they can sell you a different brand of car, this is a country that is looking to get every bit of personal, private information they can, so they know everything about you," O'Brien said.

"There are social credit scores in China. They give people scores based on how compliant they are with Communist Party dictates. They are going to be able to put social credit scores together on all Americans and everyone in the world soon because of artificial intelligence and super computing.

"We need to make sure that does not happen," the US National Security Advisor said.

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