If you know what Tik Tok is, it may singlehandedly be getting you through quarantine.
But according to an Indiana congressman, it might also be posing a cybersecurity risk and giving China a window into the world. Your world.
Are there cybersecurity risks associated with Tik Tok?
"Some phone apps are fun and useful, others are counterintelligence threats," says Jim Banks, a congressman from Indiana's 3rd district. "Americans should know which is which before they hit the download button."
He's proposing legislation that will implement a warning label on Tik Tok, one of the fastest-growing social media platforms.
Tik Tok is famous for 15-second videos and music, and its popularity is only rising as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
It is less famous for being owned by a Chinese company.
According to Banks, Tik Tok's association with ByteDance, a Beijing-based company, poses a considerable cybersecurity and privacy risk. He explains in a recent statement:
"Under the Chinese National Intelligence Law of 2017, the Chinese Communist Party has access to all data stored within its national boundaries. This includes data harvested from TikTok hosted on Chinese servers. Citing cybersecurity concerns, the U.S. Army blocked soldiers from downloading TikTok on their government phones."
Banks believes that users have a right to know the risks before they download the app, and he's proposing a congressional bill to do just that:
When downloading the app, the warning will read: "Warning: [Name of Covered Foreign Software] is developed by [Name of Developer of Covered Foreign Software], which [is controlled by a company that] [is organized under the laws of]/[conducts its principal operations in]/[is organized under the laws of and conducts its principal operations in] [Name of Covered Country]. Please acknowledge by selecting the 'accept' or 'decline' button below if you wish to proceed."
Do you think Tik Tok needs a warning label? And if Tik Tok does, what else should?