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China’s Surveillance Iceberg: Beyond TikTok, a Vast Network of Data Collection

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China’s Surveillance Iceberg: Beyond TikTok, a Vast Network of Data Collection

By: Jane Zakharova

The recent scrutiny of TikTok by Congress is merely the beginning of a much larger issue related to China’s surveillance activities. While TikTok has faced allegations of data privacy concerns, it represents only a fraction of the broader problem.

TikTok’s Controversy: TikTok, the popular social media platform, has been under the spotlight due to its Chinese ownership and potential data-sharing practices. Concerns have arisen about user data being accessed by the Chinese government.

Beyond TikTok: However, focusing solely on TikTok misses the bigger picture. China’s surveillance capabilities extend far beyond a single app. The country has a vast network of technology companies, both state-owned and private, that collect and analyze data on a massive scale.

Data Collection Ecosystem: China’s surveillance ecosystem includes not only social media platforms but also telecommunications networks, smart cities, and facial recognition systems. These interconnected systems allow for comprehensive monitoring of citizens’ activities.

Strategic Goals: China’s surveillance efforts align with its strategic goals, including maintaining social stability, tracking dissidents, and enhancing national security. The government leverages technology to achieve these objectives.

Global Implications: The impact of China’s surveillance practices extends beyond its borders. Companies with ties to China may inadvertently share user data with the Chinese government, raising concerns about privacy and security worldwide.

Balancing Act: Policymakers face a delicate balancing act. While addressing specific apps like TikTok is essential, a broader approach is necessary to address China’s overall surveillance capabilities effectively.

Congress’s attention to TikTok is a step in the right direction, but it’s crucial to recognize that China’s surveillance iceberg runs much deeper. As technology continues to evolve, policymakers must grapple with the complexities of privacy, security, and global implications.

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