US hysterics shown in viewing TikTok as security threat
Published: Jan 16, 2019 09:03 PM
Following Huawei, the latest target considered a security threat by the US is TikTok. With growing popularity around the world, TikTok, a Chinese app for sharing short videos, could be a "Huawei-sized problem" that poses a national security threat to the West, a US think tank report warned recently. As the social app is able to gather a lot of data on users, according to the report, the information could be sent to China, easily accessed by the government and leveraged, making Beijing's "national surveillance software better at recognizing Western faces," as well as serving for "espionage and manipulation of public opinion."

A few days ago in a report that sounds more like the plot of a Hollywood spy thriller, the Washington Post cited warnings that a China-made metro rail car can spy on the Pentagon or White House officials as they ride the Blue Line. The report was taken seriously by the US Congress, the Pentagon and industry experts. 

When did Americans' sense of security become so fragile? It seems that all Chinese high-tech innovations and products gaining worldwide popularity are seen as security threats. Are they spooking themselves with their own imagination? Should they check all the China-made electronics they are using? Or should they abandon all China-made products to keep safe? 

Without solid proof, accusations in recent years about alleged Chinese spying on the US are either based on hearsay evidence or groundless. It was once reported that malicious chips were inserted into the Chinese-manufactured servers of American tech giants Apple and Amazon by Chinese intelligence agents to steal their corporate secrets and data. The claims were soon denied by the two American companies. 

Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei has been accused by US intelligence agencies of allowing its devices to be used by the Chinese government to spy on Americans. On Tuesday, Ren Zhengfei, the founder of Huawei, told media that Huawei has never spied - and never would - for the Chinese government. "No law requires any company in China to install mandatory back doors," Ren emphasized, referring to giving officials a key to access data on devices or networks. 

Recent years have witnessed great progress made by China in technological innovation with ideas that leapfrog the West. 

The growing popularity of creative Chinese tech products such as TikTok and the rise of Chinese tech companies such as Huawei result from China's unremitting innovation efforts. More importantly, Chinese companies have expanded globally in accordance with international laws and rules.

In the perception of some US elites and politicians, the more popular the product, be it TikTok or Huawei, the greater the threat. They are challenging US technological hegemony. 

The US has defined China as a strategic competitor, believing everything made by China will be used by the Chinese authority against the US. This will put the US under increasing psychological stress.  

TikTok is an entertainment app for people around the world looking for fun and relaxation. When Tiktok is considered a new security concern by the US, isn't that a sign that the US is becoming too hysterical about China's tech development?

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