Surveillance

US Military Bans TikTok over privacy concerns

No more cringy TikTok videos for the American military?

The American army’s admiration for TikTok has prompted a backlash from almost all branches of the military in the country. After being banned by the Navy, the US Army has also banned the famous TikTok app on all government-issued phones. 

The Chinese firm ByteDance owned app TikTok has become quite popular around the world with a massive following of half a billion users worldwide. 

US military officials claim that it is impossible to ban its use on personal mobile phones, but banning it on work mobiles for security reasons is reasonable and legitimate. 



The Defense Department has also issued a warning in public interest outlining the dangers of downloading such applications.

TikTok app is an entertaining application on which users can post up to 15-seconds long, self-edited videos. A majority of its users are young those who lip-sync to movie dialogues, songs, and any type of audio in a funny or quirky manner.

US lawmakers state that the TikTok app can be used for collecting US citizens’ data and hence, is a potential risk to national security since the Chinese intelligence may force the app developers to share data with them. 

Both Republican and Democratic senators asked the intelligence agencies in the US to intervene and conduct a thorough investigation into the security threats and probable risks posed by this application. 


According to Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Robin Ochoa, the decision is taken amid rising concerns that the app could very well be extracting personal information from US military officials. TikTok app is considered a “cyber threat” by the military officials in the US primarily because all the accounts created on TikTok remain public by-default and can only be restricted to a certain extent. 

“It is considered a cyber threat and we do not allow it on government phones,” Ochoa told Military.com.

Army soldiers received a warning in mid-December to avoid using TikTok and the Defense Department urged employees to delete the app to prevent uncalled for data exposure.

TikTok responded to these allegations and stated that the company follows strict cyber-security and data privacy policies and the US data also doesn’t come under Chinese law. During 2019, TikTok underwent considerable changes that resulted in strengthening the autonomy of its US team.


Also, the company stated that there are plans to carry out an official audit to prove that user data isn’t transferred to China and third-party apps are also not used for this purpose.

Now we have to wait for official word from the US Marine Corps and the Air Force regarding the fate of the TikTok app in these branches. It is highly likely that the app will be banned by the Air Force and Marines as well as all branches of the military follow similar policies and practices when it comes to matters of national security and cyber threats.

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