OPINION As country after country bans TikTok from official systems, it’s fair to ask what’s so dodgy about a social network filled with dance crazes, makeup advice and cats.
You can understand why selling the Middle Kingdom state-of-the-art EUV lithography gear might be a bad idea, but this? Is it the xenophobia China often blames for Western reticence? Plain old trade barriers? Cold war cultural imperialism? No, it really is a security matter, and one that’s far more serious than it looks.
State security and national intelligence can look like, and often is, a proxy for political machinations. This is not that. It’s not a matter of morality or the ethical superiority of democracy. The West can bug, spy, infiltrate and deceive with the best of them. The CIA secretly owned Crypto AG, a Swiss cryptography company, and most certainly snaffled a ton of data from unsuspecting organisations as a result.