Young people using TikTok not a problem: head of GCHQ

Jeremy Fleming, director of the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), addressed the role of young people in the Chinese social network TikTok following some political comments. British Prime Minister Liz Truss was among the authorities who called for “cracking down” on the app and similar companies. For the Director of the Government Communications Headquarters, the UK’s intelligence, cyber and security agency, while there are concerns about the imposition of values, by the Asian social network, he also understands that there are other strategic areas within science and technology.

Fleming was consulted on the relationship that adolescents or minors should have with these applications. The GCHQ director, when asked about his children as an example, responded that “I would talk to my son about how he thinks about his personal data on his device.” Fleming specified that it is vital that people understand that “there is nothing good here for free”. The major concern is how personal data may come to be used in a proportionate manner.

Young people in the eye of the storm

In any case, Fleming was favorable and satisfied “with the way in which the data is protected”. Therefore, in his opinion, there should not be any problems for consumers of social networks. Already making a focused allusion to the TikTok application, the GCHQ chief pointed out to its users to “make the most of it, make those videos, use TikTok, but just think before you do it.”

Owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, the Tiktok social network raised concerns about the UK government. On this point, Truss was able to make the case, in his run for the Conservative leadership last July, that “strong action” needed to be taken. The Prime Minister, in that television debate, made it clear that there is deep concern about the application of Chinese ownership.

A hard look at the government

Truss, as part of the foreign policy and defense review used by Boris Johnson, understands that “these types of enterprises” require the government to take strong action. Since her arrival to power, the new prime minister has made it clear that a tougher line would be taken on anything linked to China. Partly because of the link between Beijing and Russia in Europe. In addition, it is seen as a “systemic competitor” in the current ranking of world powers.

While the spy chief does not believe that TikTok presents problems, he does understand that China’s potential to manipulate technologies cannot be ignored. There, the location of satellites, digital currencies and even the Internet itself were targeted. Fleming understands that other popular applications, such as Facebook, which are not processed in China and also have user data collection, should be looked at. Everything indicates that the United Kingdom, in the same way that Donald Trump did when he was president of the United States, is going to put several tools into a rigorous analysis of the platform’s actions and its handling of information.