Chinese social network TikTok in the crosshairs of Quebec authorities
Zhang Yiming's fortune is estimated at US$16.2 billion, or nearly C$22 billion.
It is ranked according to Forbes magazine, as one of the 100 biggest fortunes in the world. He is the founder and head of the parent company of the famous social network TikTok, ByteDance. The social network that has since been noted, for a time, at the heart of controversies in the United States and Europe, is now making a name for itself in The Canadian lands. It should be noted that Donald Trump's administration in the United States has always threatened to banish TikTok even in the midst of a coronavirus crisis, or the application has been an undeniable success. And the reason would be that the latter could serve as a spy crank for the Chinese government. This concern, unfortunately for TikTok, is becoming more widespread.
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Recently, a cybersecurity expert mentioned that the same problem presents itself as a reality for Quebec businesses. "TikTok has already passed information on to the Chinese government, like Zoom. In a business environment, the tool can help them get to know manufacturers better," warned computer security specialist and university lecturer Steve Waterhouse.
Since the beginning of 2020, Donald Trump's administration has been analyzing several possibilities to ban the Chinese entertainment app, TikTok, in a context where political and economic tensions are at the heart of U.S.-China relations. In an interview with host Greta Van Susteren, regarding Tiktok, which now has nearly $800 million, the US President mentioned that this was still being analysed and that the possibility must be taken into account.
Despite all these threats, the entertainment platform already announced that it was creating a space for small and medium-sized businesses to create and clip ads based on the application's models.
As everywhere else in the world, the entertainment app is attracting more and more, especially in the youngest, pre-teens. And that's what worries Steve Waterhouse, the computer security specialist who is also a lecturer at the University of Sherbrooke. "Quebec companies should avoid using TikTok to reduce the risk of their industrial secrets being stolen. Especially since China has an interest in undermining Canada because it has had a dispute since the arrest of Meng Wanzhou and the two Canadians imprisoned there," he warned.
According to our expert, with the information collected by the application, it will be possible for the Chinese intelligence services to make portraits of business activities, and even of public administration. One can take the example of a contractor who allows the application to have access to his contacts. "It's not science fiction anymore, it's what happens in 2020," said Steve Waterhouse, who poses the problem of misinformation that can arise through the app.
When questioned by the media, the Canadian government refused to rule on a potential ban on TikTok in Canada. Without excluding it either. "Our world is highly connected and, now more than ever, technology plays an incredibly important role in our daily lives. Our government continues to work closely with agencies and technology leaders to ensure the protection of Canadians and our computer systems," said Defence Minister Mary-Liz Power's press secretary.
As for the entertainment app, no statement was made. To believe that this moment is a period of observation on both sides, on the part of the government and the Chinese application.
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