Tech & Science

TikTok investigation sign of growing societal unrest: academics

Toronto –

The TikTok investigation launched this week by Canada’s Privacy Commissioner is not only a sign of growing anxiety over data privacy, but also the extent of geopolitical tensions, academics say.

A study revealed Thursday by the Federal Privacy Watch Agency and its counterparts in B.C., Alberta and Quebec found that Beijing-based ByteDance-owned video-based social media platform complies with Canadian privacy law. The purpose is to delve into whether or not

Investigators will also investigate whether the app has “valid and meaningful” consent for its collection, use and disclosure of personal information.

TikTok has long been embroiled in privacy issues because the Chinese government has invested in ByteDance, and laws allow the country to access user data.

Sarah Grimes, Director of Knowledge Media Design, said: Institute of the University of Toronto, via e-mail.

“How are they using our data? What are they doing to protect our privacy?”

She added that TikTok has been in the spotlight.The US and EU have recently banned staff from using TikTok on work devices, and class action lawsuits were settled last year in both Canada and the US. It claimed that TikTok was collecting data without consent.

“Canada has historically been very slow and hesitant to regulate the internet and other digital technologies,” Grimes said.

“Now, however, there is a change: a growing public demand for better protection of user rights and greater transparency about data practices from businesses and governments.”

It also comes after the US decision to shoot down a suspected Chinese high-altitude balloon earlier this month.

In the days that followed, three other high-altitude objects were shot down over North America, and the Globe and Mail has since reported that Canadian forces have spotted Chinese surveillance buoys in the Arctic.

Vas Bednar, executive director of McMaster University’s Master of Public Policy in Digital Societies, said, “In the context that we are discussing this[the TikTok issue]right now, there needs to be some awareness of the political climate. is.

“And I think it’s a thorny question to ask why now, when an investigation like this could happen, and perhaps should happen to other companies on social media.

But Bednar believes the launch of the survey is unlikely to force Canadians to reconsider using TikTok. The app is designed to be addictive, so people keep watching videos and posting content, so TikTok may know people can’t quit easily.

“It would probably make the threats (investigations) more hollow,” Bednar added.

But Grimes said consumers’ minds could change if privacy violations or other issues were discovered.

“If an investigation confirms that TikTok is violating our privacy rights and/or the privacy rights of our teens and children, it will definitely shake the habits of our users.

“Contrary to popular belief, young people are very concerned about their privacy and how their data is used. Parents are also very concerned about their children’s data. increase.”

ByteDance isn’t based in Canada, but it does have offices and staff in Toronto, and Grimes said Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and other privacy laws apply to all doing business in the country. applies to people with

“We are working with federal and provincial privacy authorities to keep a record of how we protect the privacy of Canadians,” TikTok spokesperson Daniel Morgan said in an email Thursday after news of the investigation broke. We welcome the opportunity to stand.

But Canada and the commission can do little to compel TikTok to comply with the investigation, Grimes said.

“They can publish their results, raise public awareness, and make suggestions to ByteDance on how to comply with PIPEDA and other laws related to this investigation,” Grimes said.

“But it would be much better if we could fine companies that violated or restrict the operations of companies that repeatedly violated Canadian law.”

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