Arkansas cybersecurity expert reacts to U.S. House passing bill that could ban TikTok | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – On Wednesday, the United States House of Representatives voted to pass legislation that could ban the popular video-sharing app TikTok nationwide.

The vote was overwhelmingly bi-partisan with 352 lawmakers voting in support, but this does not mean the app goes away instantly.

On X, TikTok policy made a statement on the house vote calling on senators to consider the facts before their vote.

The bill now heads to the Senate for a vote and then potentially the President’s desk.

Another option for those to keep using TikTok would be for its parent company ByteDance, which is based in China, to sell its stakes in the next six months or see the app deleted from app stores in the U.S.

TikTok has more than 150 million American users and lawmakers have spoken out about their concern over the Chinese government’s potential to access the data of millions of American users.

Christopher Wright, co-founder of Sullivan Wright Technologies, works as a cybersecurity expert. He said if the app were to be banned it would not cease to exist immediately.

“We call it a ban, but it’s really removing it from the app store,” Wright said, “It most likely will not be able to be downloaded or updated.”

When it comes to data TikTok collects like location, contacts, financial contact info and more, Wright said it’s around the same as other American-based apps but has its differences.

“A lot of that stuff is shared back with the company that owns TikTok, ByteDance, but behind that, we really don’t know what’s going on with it. It’s a kind of veil curtain,” Wright said.

Wright said if the data is shared in the wrong hands a lot could be done.

“The algorithms that are used in these tools are built to put content in front of you that you believe already or to boost your deeply held beliefs or sell you something,” Wright said. “I think that goes towards another aspect of the TikTok story: Can it be used for disinformation to put out incorrect stories at critical times?”

As the TikTok debate continues, the Senate still has to vote on the bill. President Joe Biden has said that if the bill reaches his desk, he will sign it into law.


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