Monday, March 27, 2023

Fresh data fears over TikTok, WeChat

Chinese-owned apps TikTok, Didi and WeChat are being focused by the Coalition over issues they might be harvesting customers’ information which could possibly be used for overseas interference.

The Opposition is looking for to revive its Online Privacy Bill and has accused the Albanese authorities of failing to take the difficulty critically sufficient.

Opposition communications spokeswoman Sarah Henderson mentioned the overwhelming majority of TikTok’s 7 million Australian customers have been youngsters or younger adults.

“We are particularly concerned about the impact that this is having on Australian children and this is why action from the Albanese government is so urgent,” she instructed reporters at Parliament House on Monday.

Senator Henderson mentioned there was additionally proof of Australian WeChat customers being focused and “effectively coerced” into transferring their information and private data to servers based mostly in China.

Opposition cyber safety spokesman James Paterson has referred TikTok and DiDi to the federal privateness watchdog – the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner – for investigation.

Senator Paterson mentioned whereas all social media firms collected data on their customers, these headquartered in authoritarian international locations have been of explicit concern as a result of they have been topic to their nationwide safety legal guidelines.

“That includes TikTok, but also WeChat, Didi the ride sharing app and many others,” he instructed 2GB Radio on Monday.

“And because they are subject to those intelligence laws, that means that the employees or (the) company can be required to co-operate with Chinese intelligence agencies and provide information or material on Australian users, which is a very serious national security challenge.”

Senator Paterson mentioned there was an enormous distinction between having Facebook, Twitter or Google making an attempt to serve customers with promoting “about a particular golf club” and TikTok or WeChat making an attempt to censor, surveil or management.

His feedback come after Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil ordered her division to analyze the harvesting of information by TikTok amid rising privateness issues concerning the video-sharing app.

Senator Paterson welcomed Ms O’Neil’s choice however mentioned the federal government wanted to take motion now.

“That report will not be handed back to the government until early next year,” he instructed reporters in Canberra.

“And in the meantime, the 7 million users of TikTok, the almost 1 million users of WeChat and the many users of Didi and other apps are exposed and are not protected.”

Senator Paterson mentioned it was too quickly to rule out banning TikTok in Australia solely.

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