Members of Parliaments (MP) have claimed in the house on Thursday that Chinese short-video making app TikTok was spreading “fake news” and “malicious content” within India while also sharing Indian user data with China.
Pinaki Mishra, the Biju Janata Dal MP from Puri, along with Jayadev Galla of the Telugu Desam Party voiced these concerns during the Parliament session. “India has a neighbour who is hell-bent on collecting data and information from India. This is not
going to benefit India but (it’s) for their own benefit, their future,” Mishra said, citing the need for the government to implement a data protection law immediately.
Mishra further stated that the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) economic wing, had shared a letter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on how TikTok’s parent company ByteDance was engaging in “nefarious” activities.
“Information and data are the new oil of the 21st century. This is how society is going to be driven forward. So, whoever controls data will be in a powerful position to control our lives,” he added.
Jayadev Galla, an industrialist based out of Andhra Pradesh, also suggested a ban on TikTok and other such applications that could potentially threaten the security and democracy of India.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had claimed on Monday that TikTok was illegally sending user data to China. TikTok had refuted the allegation, stating that its Indian users’ data was stored in suitably encrypted third-party data facilities in US and Singapore.
India’s data protection Bill is still at the draft stage, nine months after the Srikrishna Committee submitted the first version. The Bill specifies rules on data collection and storage and stipulates that personal critical data of Indian citizens should be stored only within the borders of India.
TikTok currently has a user base of around 200 Mn in India, of which 120 Mn are active monthly users. ByteDance has also launched Helo in India, a regional-language chatting app that competes directly with the likes of ShareChat and has a user base of 50 Mn.