If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product. And when an enemy nation can simply create apps and free services that people willingly download and utilize, we bug ourselves.
A China-based team from TikTok’s parent company apparently planned to use the app to track the personal location of certain American citizens, further raising security concerns about the company’s relationship with China.
ByteDance’s Internal Audit and Risk Control team had the ability to track a user’s personal location through the TikTok app itself, according to documents reviewed by Forbes. While the team primarily dealt with misconduct by current and former employees, it tracked the location of at least two people who had no connection to ByteDance.
TikTok claimed that the information was to be used to “help show relevant content and ads to users, comply with applicable laws, and detect and prevent fraud and inauthentic behavior,” but the documents indicated that the internal audit team intended to use the data to surveil select U.S. residents.
American Big Tech platforms like Facebook can do the same thing. That’s why employees of major Big Tech platforms who talk to reporters or look for other jobs don’t have their phones with them when they do. All of this could really be the tip of the iceberg.
TikTok is wildly popular with a certain demographic subset. But it’s not alone. Consider gaming.
For those who are not aware what I am talking about: A “root-level” program, sometimes also referred to als “Kernel mode driver” or “ring 0 permission” is something, that operates at the highest operation level on your computer. And we are not talking about “Run as Administrator”, here. No. A tool like this has more permissions than an Administrator. In fact, almost nothing you can do on your operating system (assuming Windows for most people) has nearly as much power as a Kernel mode driver. This acts so deep in your system, that it can directly access ANY hardware component…
Now look at the company structure of RIOT Games. RIOT Games is mainly owned by Tencent Games, which is the largest Gaming Studio in the world based on its investments and received multiple fundings straight out of the Chinese Ministry of State Security.
I have to wonder how many Chinese online games have been covertly installed by staff at corporate and government installations so they can play at work.
We are doing this to ourselves.