• Whitehat

Protecting Your Data Against China's Tech Giants


Man holding iPhone
Photo of the popular social media app TikTok

China has the second-largest economy and is on pace to become the largest economy by 2030. This is important because, for this to become a reality, China cannot rely on its economy for the massive growth needed, but instead look to the west to expand its market power and resources. The fastest way to achieve this transition is through their tech sector. Tech has made it ever so possible to reach the other side of the world without having physical locations to sell goods or services. A brand-new sector has now bloomed with different applications that provide different services such as Netflix, Facebook, and YouTube; these apps also provide platforms for people to interact and share their creations. Due to the accumulation of users on the apps companies have been able to scale internationally to become billion-dollar enterprises. The rise of application platforms has not just occurred in the west but has also bloomed in China. Apps such as WeChat, QQ, and TikTok have virtually taken over the everyday life of Chinese citizens and have now begun to expand their footprint into North America and Europe.


The Importance of Protecting Your Data


Xi Jinping stands before delegates
Xi Jinping stands before delegates during the nineteenth National Congress in 2017. Thomas Peter/Reuters

Here in North America, we are privileged to have laws that govern business data usage such that it may not be used against us in any malicious or discriminatory way. Yet even with these laws in place, companies still violate these statutes and are only forced to pay fines as a result. In the east, this is the exact opposite, the government monitors their citizens to the exact "T". From when they wake up to the what time they go to work the government knows their every single move. In 2018, the media mouthpiece of China's ruling Communist Party claimed on Twitter:

“the country's facial recognition system was capable of scanning the faces of China's 1.4 billion citizens in just one second.”

Not only is this scary because no longer are you in control of the information you wish to share, but your every move is now monitored, and with the credit system the Chinese government has been implementing, those you choose to interact with now determine your societal standing.


Now imagine the Chinese government now has access to your data. With this information, they can now easily profile you, monitor your activities, and whenever needed target you with manipulations you are prone to.

Controlling individuals does not necessarily have to do with direct control but instead controlling the environment around them and using their reactions to build a profile on how to sway their opinions.


How You Can Protect Your Data


Phone Settings
Settings on Phone

TikTok says it collects text, images, and video from your device's clipboard if you copy and paste content to or from the app, or share it with a third-party platform.

Apps such as TikTok are now becoming more prevalent in western society as these companies look to expand their market share. Many users in North America and Europe will be signing up for this platform, and there is importance in understanding how you can mitigate the risk of your data being taken. On your phone, whether Android or iPhone, you can limit what the application can track by heading to your Privacy Settings > Turing off location access, contact access, local network access, and tracking access.


We also advise using a VPN to hide your location and limiting access these applications have to other accounts such as Facebook and Instagram.


If you have any you can contact us today