TikTok and China are again (or still) making headlines this week. South of the border, they had congressional hearings and up north, here in Canada, we announced some sort of investigation will take place to help shed light on foreign interference with our elections.
The politicians in the U.S. came across as a bit funny. They seemed incensed that a foreign company might hold the personal information of Americans, thus subjecting them to the risk of a foreign government accessing the data. Seems to me Europeans, i.e., Max Schrems, and some Canadians have been saying the same thing about giant American internet companies for some time.
We know from the now quite old Snowden revelations that American law enforcement did (and does) access data held by American internet companies like Meta and Google. Apparently what’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander. Americans are actually trying to force TikTok’s sale to an American company.
All of this seems to shy away from the real problem: We don’t trust foreign governments and worry about them spying on us. It comes down, for me at least, to whether or not you care about your information ending up in the hands of foreign law enforcement. I have Meta and Google accounts because I don’t care if American law enforcement issues a subpoena for the information those companies hold. I do, however, care about the Chinese government accessing my information, so I do not have a TikTok account. Ok, that’s not the only reason. I told you before, I can’t dance.
I’m not sure we’ll ever get to the point where we have sufficient enough international cooperation to resolve these issues. Look at how the EU and U.S. still can’t come up with a data transfer mechanism that meets European demands of transparency and accountability. And the draft they do have has already been made a target for yet another legal challenge through European courts.
Before I leave you, and on a completely different note, I heard a rumor our federal politicians will resume the second reading of Bill C-27 next Tuesday. I hope they make some real progress and this time avoid partisan grandstanding.
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