BlueLeaks Reveals What TikTok Shares with U.S. Authorities - 2020-08-10
President Donald Trump's executive order banning Americans from using TikTok is driven by concerns that the company might hand over user data to Chinese authorities. Recently hacked police documents reveal the nature of the company's relationship to law enforcement — not in China but in the United States.
TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, is headquartered in Beijing, where the government censors social media content and maintains other forms of influence over tech companies. But a glimpse at what TikTok does in the U.S. underscores that data privacy issues extend beyond China.
Documents published in the BlueLeaks trove, which was hacked by someone claiming a connection to Anonymous and published by the transparency collective Distributed Denial of Secrets, show the information that TikTok shared with U.S. law enforcement in dozens of cases. Experts familiar with law enforcement requests say that what TikTok collects and hands over is not significantly more than what companies like Amazon, Facebook, or Google regularly provide, but that's because U.S. tech companies collect and hand over a lot of information.