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Internet: German politicians for tougher action against Tiktok

Internet: German politicians for tougher action against Tiktok

The short video app Tiktok is suspected of being a gateway for data surveillance by Chinese authorities. Some now believe that Germany’s authorities should play it safe.

In view of significant security concerns due to a lack of data protection at Tiktok, politicians across party lines are calling for a tougher approach against the Chinese short video app. “If stricter regulation cannot be implemented efficiently, I think it is necessary to consider a general ban on Tiktok,” said the vice-chairman of the Bundestag’s intelligence control committee, Roderich Kiesewetter (CDU), to the “Handelsblatt”.

The app is an important instrument of China and Russia’s hybrid warfare and is not only used to spread disinformation, but also “specifically for espionage and data access.” For employees of state institutions and authorities at all levels – from the federal government to local government, “the app should be banned on work devices,” said Kiesewetter.

SPD sees a need for action

The SPD also sees a need for action. He thought it would make sense if the highest cybersecurity authority, the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), “could issue generally binding bans for use in the federal administration,” said the Bundestag parliamentary group’s digital expert, Jens Zimmermann, to the newspaper. According to the paper, the SPD foreign politician Ralf Stegner also believes that private usage restrictions are necessary for employees of security authorities.

Green party deputy Konstantin von Notz pleaded in the newspaper for “exploiting all regulatory options”. However, he considers a ban to be difficult to enforce.

There are worries

Tiktok stands out from the range of internationally successful online platforms because the app does not come from the USA. The operator is the company Bytedance, which critics see as a Chinese company, but which emphasizes that it is 60 percent owned by Western investors and has its headquarters on the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean. There are concerns that the app could be misused by Chinese authorities to collect information about users. Governments of several countries and the EU Commission have banned the use of Tiktok on work cell phones.

On the other hand, the platform offers access to a huge audience, which has so far been used primarily by the AfD at the federal political level. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) only opened an account at the beginning of the week. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) also recently stated that the government wanted to be present on Tiktok in the future.

Source: Stern

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