Tech & Science

Why you should care about what TikTok and other platforms do with your data – National

Canada’s TikTok ban on government devices and ongoing research into how video-sharing apps use Canadians’ data have prompted individuals to do what they can to protect their data and personal privacy. The spotlight is on what can be done.

For many Canadians, reading past terms of service, consenting to cookies, and choosing whether to “allow apps to track” their mobile device usage are routine. It is supposed to be

But a former Canadian spymaster warns that Canadians should be worried about their personal information being misused, even if they aren’t already.

Former CSIS director Richard Faden said, “The more information a foreign country, like China, has about you, the more opportunities it has to threaten, coerce, and influence.”

Here’s why experts say you should care about your online privacy.

Why should you care about your privacy on TikTok?

The concerns clouding the social media platform stem from TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance.

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The company has faced criticism from those who have warned that the Chinese government could access user data such as browsing history and location information.

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Canadian government bans TikTok on all devices, citing ‘unacceptable’ risks

TikTok has taken steps to reassure countries that it protects user data, but many countries, including the United States, Canada and the European Commission, have banned the application on government-issued devices.

Still, few governments have taken steps to outright ban the use of controversial applications. That includes Canada, which leaves it up to Canadians to decide whether to install apps on their personal devices.

When pressed about Monday’s decision, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “I have always supported giving Canadians the information they need to make the right decisions.

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Canadian government bans TikTok on all devices for ‘safety and security’: Trudeau

TikTok collects a lot of data about you, from the device you use to your location, IP address, search history, and even the content of your messages. According to Wired’s 2021 article.

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You may not care if the application knows all these things about you, but the information can be invaluable to the companies that collect it.

“Our dataset by itself is not very valuable to the platform, but it is valuable as a whole,” said Vas Bednar, executive director of the Master Program in Public Policy in a Digital Society at McMaster University.

“That value is created by[tech companies]maintaining data in their ecosystem and using it to make strategic business decisions. Whether it’s algorithms, access to that platform I am trying to sell

According to Bednar and Bednar, users of fitness-tracking app Strava have been using user data creatively, as they learned that the application’s data maps risk revealing the location of secret U.S. military bases. It can also be used to threaten national security. Guardian article.

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Singh suspends use of TikTok as Canadian government’s device ban begins

Anatoliy Gruzd, co-director of the Social Media Lab at Toronto Metropolitan University, said that misused data could be used to influence or change an individual’s behavior. I am warning you.

“The dark side of this kind of technology is that we, as individuals, are not really aware that we are being manipulated in certain ways,” Gruzd warned.

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As an example of this, Gruzd cited a Russian troll farm that targeted American social media users ahead of the 2016 election. US Department of Justice in the spotlight in 2018.

The Russians, who work for a group called the “Institute of Internet Research,” attracted like-minded followers on issues such as religion and immigration in 2014, and in 2015 bought an ad to spread the message.

By 2016, they were using these followers to “help organize political rallies across the United States.” A New York Times article warned.

Why do China and other foreign governments care about you?

In the case of TikTok, Beijing law opens the door to the possibility of access to user data by the Chinese government. This is a deep-rooted concern for many lawmakers around the world.

This is also a concern for Fadden.

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Imagine having the most evil intentions about your neighbor across the street and having access to all of their personal information. And think about what you can do,” he said Fadden.

“When you’re dealing with a nation-state, multiply it by a thousand and you get a sense of the possibilities. That doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.”

Faden warned that even if you think you won’t be targeted by foreign countries, you may be wrong.

He used the example of a waitress or waiter working in a restaurant. It’s probably a place where politicians or officials interested in a particular foreign actor tend to gather after work.

Click to play video: 'TikTok ban on government-issued devices critical to protecting Canadians' information: Mendicino'

TikTok Ban on Government-Issued Devices Critical to Protecting Canadian Information: Mendicino

If a foreign government learns through your personal data that you are in financial trouble, they may consider you a target and make an offer.

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“Before you know it, just by reporting a conversation you might have overheard over coffee, you’ve made a promise in exchange for some money,” Faden said.

“I’m exaggerating its simplicity…but these things do happen.”

Faden said there could also be a disconnect between who the average person doesn’t care about and who the nation-state cares about.

“For one thing, most of these individual antagonists have a much longer perspective. You might have waitressed on your way to college. It might be,” Faden said.

“So we are developing a very comprehensive and detailed database that will last for a long time.”

These may be simplistic examples, but Fadden says he strongly believes in “preventive medicine” rather than “curative medicine.”

“That’s what we’re talking about here. Just don’t give out information,” he said.

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Poilievre and Tories suspend TikTok accounts after ban

Fadden added that users also need to be aware and question what the tweaked TikTok algorithm has to offer.

“They can tweak the media and have certain people speak in certain ways. No. The problem is, 99% of the time, you forget it completely,” says Fadden.

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“If you think about China, but many other countries, their intentions are not conscientious and they use all the data they can get their hands on to push individuals in one direction or another. I know it will pull and pull.

Still, the former spymaster said that if he wants to continue using TikTok, that’s “no problem.”

“But don’t just use TikTok. Check out some of the things they’re saying. Try to find a little balance,” he said. “I think that goes for anyone using any app. You should never use just one.

Is TikTok inferior to other social media?

In a statement responding to news of the Canadian government’s TikTok ban on devices, a spokesperson for the social media company questioned the timing of the government’s announcement.

“It is interesting that the Canadian government has moved to block TikTok on government-issued devices. Only after a similar ban is introduced,” the spokesperson said.

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“While we can always meet with government officials to discuss how we can protect the privacy and security of Canadians, singleing out TikTok in this way will help us achieve that shared goal. Neither do I.”

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Ban on TikTok on Canadian government-regulated devices

So far, the government’s decision to ban TikTok on government devices said Canada’s chief information officer, after reviewing TikTok, determined that the application “posed an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security.” I’m explaining.

Bednar suggested the government should be more explicit about the underlying reasons for the ban.

“I don’t think Canadians have enough information about what the new analysis will tell us and lead us to diagnose this ‘unacceptable level of risk’,” Bednar said. .

“I find that frustrating.”

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TikTok faces joint investigation from Canadian privacy watchdog

She also said the concerns raised about TikTok reflect the need to strengthen Canada’s privacy laws to better protect consumers about how companies use, store and sell their information. . .

In the absence of strong privacy laws to protect them, Canadians have a way to protect their data online – without necessarily having to log off permanently.

According to Gruzd, users can start by “checking the settings within the app.” This includes ‘what types of data’ you agree to share with the platform, especially ‘targeted’ data.

And if you stop using the app, “you can always request that your data be deleted,” said Gruzd.

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