Is TikTok really dangerous…is it time to check the “country of origin” of apps? | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Is TikTok really dangerous…is it time to check the “country of origin” of apps?

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Montana Legislature in Western U.S. Passes Bill Banning “TikTok” for Public Use

Amendments to the “Anti-Spying Law” passed in China in April and will go into effect on July 1. Some experts warn that the definition of espionage has been expanded and may affect foreigners as well, and that “there is a fear that the contents of these apps may be passed on to the Chinese authorities through Chinese-made apps and e-mails.

When it comes to apps from China, TikTok is the first app that comes to mind. It is said to have over 1 billion users worldwide, but its use on official devices has been banned in the U.S., Europe, Canada, and other countries, especially by government agencies. What is the concern?

TikTok is said to have a backdoor that allows unauthorized access to users’ information. However, China’s ByteDance, which operates TikTok, denies this, and there is no evidence of a backdoor at this time.

IT journalist Shuji Shinohara says so.

What can users do to avoid dangerous apps… (PHOTO: AFLO)

Another problem is China’s National Information Law. This law stipulates that ‘any organization or individual is obligated to cooperate with state intelligence activities. If the Chinese government asks a company to submit information, the company has no choice but to hand it over without disobeying. If information on key government officials were to flow from TikTok to the Chinese government, it would be a matter of national security, and that is why Western countries have begun to regulate it.

Such concerns about whether the Chinese government, which has collected personal information on its citizens through TikTok, is directing public opinion in the United States by distributing convenient videos, were apparently expressed at a congressional hearing held in March.

In April, the Montana legislature in the western US passed a bill banning TikTok. This is the first time that TikTok’s restrictions have been extended to general users in the U.S., the country’s media reported.

The U.S. is afraid that TikTok, at the direction of the Chinese government, will intentionally spread falsehoods and fake news to its users…TikTok’s feature allows users to distribute videos that match their interests and behavior, like inciting a riot, For example, a video that incites a riot can be broadcast to those who are easily influenced. I think this is the reason why there is a growing movement in the U.S. to regulate even the public.

What Users Can Do to Protect Their Information from Dangerous Apps

Are apps made in China the only apps of concern for the extraction and intentional distribution of personal information? In the first place, do ordinary users need to be concerned about the country of origin of apps?

I think the only country we need to be concerned about right now is China. Of course, not all apps made in China are suspect, but it wouldn’t hurt to know in passing which of your apps are made in China.

You can check the app’s distributor in the app store, and you can tell from the developer’s website what country the app is from. But knowing the country of origin doesn’t tell the user whether the app is dangerous or not.”

The first step to avoiding dangerous apps is to download them from official app stores such as the App Store and Google Play, Shinohara says.

Apps available from the App Store and Google Play have gone through a screening process, so they are almost always safe.

However, even if you get an app from an official store, it is better to choose an app that is widely known,” he says.

For example, there are many face photo processing apps that are not well known. However, they are available in the official store.

In the case of image processing apps, depending on your agreement to the terms of use, you may be giving permission to use not only the image you specify, but also the photos you have stored. There is no possibility that your own or your friends’ photos will be used without your permission. Even if an app is unfamiliar to you, the risk will be low if you choose one from a developer that seems reliable, but it is safer to avoid suspicious apps.”

Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok, at a hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Stray apps” allowed on iPhone?

After recommending downloading from the official app store, Mr. Shinohara also mentioned sideloading.

Sideloading refers to downloading apps without going through the official store. Apps distributed through channels other than the official store are also referred to as “stray apps.

Sideloading is not allowed on iPhones, but on Android devices, apps can be downloaded from sources other than Google Play. Since there is a possibility that a virus may be planted in the app, it is best not to install stray apps.

However, there is a possibility that sideloading of apps may be realized on the iPhone as well.

There is talk that Apple will allow the installation of stray apps starting with iOS17 in order to comply with new EU regulations.

Currently, when users purchase paid apps from the App Store, 30% of the purchase price is paid to Apple as a fee; if apps can be distributed from outside the App Store, manufacturers will not have to pay the Apple tax, which may lower the price. This is a great story for users.

On the flip side, installing apps that have not been reviewed by Apple could expose them to viruses, malware, and other dangers.”

It will be necessary to improve IT literacy so that each individual can make appropriate decisions about which apps to choose and where to download them from.

Shuji Shinohara was born in 1983. Since 2007, he has been working as a freelance writer specializing in verifying inflammatory incidents and false rumors mainly on the Internet.

  • Interview and text by Sayuri Saito

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