Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Monday alleged that TikTok app is illegally collecting data and sending it to China. Tharoor termed it as a national security issue. He was speaking during the Zero Hour in Lok Sabha.
Tharoor said he would like to draw the attention of the House to India‘s vulnerability to data leakage and surveillance. He blamed it on the absence of a robust comprehensive data protection framework. In the age of smartphones, apps, social media, and the internet, India is generating mind-boggling data. This is exploitable to profile, make profits, or for political control.
“Recently, the federal regulators in the US slapped a fine of 5.7 million dollars on the social media app TikTok for illegally collecting data on children,” he said. He further cited reports about the Chinese government receiving data from TikTok through the wholly state-owned China Telecom. Describing it as a “national security issue”, Tharoor said he would urge the government to introduce a comprehensive legal framework to protect the fundamental right to privacy and save democracy of the country.
To say that TikTok has had a rollercoaster ride in India would be an understatement. Since launch, the app has risen the ranks to top download charts on both major app stores. Despite its popularity though, the app was banned by the Madras High Court earlier this year. The order was due to concerns around TikTok being used to spread pornographic content.
The ban has since lifted, and the app is back with a bang. Almost immediately, TikTok was back to ruling the app store download charts. A recent report states that TikTok has been the most downloaded app on the App Store for five quarters in a row. It was reportedly the most downloaded app on Apple’s App Store globally in the first quarter of 2019. India plays a huge role in the growth of TikTok’s popularity.
With Inputs from PTI