Chinese apps under strict scrutiny: US National Security Advisor
US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said that intimate details of American citizens were making its way to the “massive super computers in the cloud in China” through the apps.
Taking a cue from the Indian Government's decision to ban 59 Chinese mobile apps, the United States of America is now reportedly considering a similar move, a top US official hinted.
Following tensions between India and China last month, the former banned the apps, saying that they were “engaged in activities prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of state and public order”
Stating that banning mobile applications such as TikTok by countries like India takes a big tool away from the surveillance work of China, US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien told Fox News Radio that the US was mulling following suit.
The Trump administration is "very seriously taking a look" at TikTok, WeChat and some other apps coming out of China, he said.
Referring to the dangers of apps such as TikTok, Robert said, “India has already banned those apps. And if they lose India and the United States, they lose some western European countries, that takes a big tool away from the espionage work or the surveillance work of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party).”
Acknowledging the popularity of apps such as TikTok, he said that it was important to remember that the app was procuring user data.
“The kids who are using TikTok -- and it can be a lot of fun -- but there are a lot of other social media platforms they could use. TikTok is getting facial recognition on you,” O'Brien said. “They are getting all of your personal, private data, your most intimate data. They are getting to know who your friends are, who your parents are. They can map all your relationships.”
He further alleged that such intimate details were then making its way to the “massive super computers in the cloud in China”.
“So China is going to know everything about you. They are going to have biometrics on you. You ought to be very careful regarding who you give such personal information to,” he cautioned.
Hinting at a ban by the Trump administration, he said, the government is examining apps like Tik Tok and WeChat, among others.
Claiming that the Chinese would even not hesitate to “steal” personal data, Robert alleged that China has hacked into Marriott and stolen the personal data of hundreds of millions of people, including their passport numbers. He also said that they had “hacked” into credit card and healthcare agencies to steal data.
“So this is not just an advertiser trying to find out what you are interested in searching for on Google so they can sell you a different brand of car, this is a country that is looking to get every bit of personal, private information they can, so they know everything about you,” the US National Security Advisor said.
Tik Tok’s loss, Roposo’s gain
The ban on TikTok, which had over 200 million users in India, has turned profitable for the apps home-grown, Bangalore-based rivals, Roposo.
Just two weeks after the ban went into effect, Roposo reported to seeing 500,000 new users an hour. It also expects to hit 100 million by the end of this month, which is double its subscriber number before the ban.
Speaking about the development to Bloomberg, Naveen Tewari, founder of the startup that owns Roposo, said: “It was a rocket ship instant for the country’s app startups. We have a viable chance to become the world’s fourth technology hub after the U.S., China and Russia.”
Now, with whispers of USA considering a ban on the Chinese apps, this could very well be the segue into the international market that Indian investors were looking for.
(With agency inputs)