China’s TikTok Accused of Spying on Users

Seems to me this is atrocity propaganda.

What does China want with random Westerners’ information?

Does it make sense that they would risk getting caught doing this?


As I reported on June 23, Apple has fixed a serious problem in iOS 14, due in the fall, where apps can secretly access the clipboard on users’ devices. Once the new OS is released, users will be warned whenever an app reads the last thing copied to the clipboard. As I warned earlier this year, this is more than a theoretical risk for users, with countless apps already caught abusing their privacy in this way.

Worryingly, one of the apps caught snooping by security researchers Talal Haj Bakry and Tommy Mysk was China’s TikTok. Given other security concerns raised about the app, as well as broader worries given its Chinese origins, this became a headline issue. At the time, TikTok owner Bytedance told me the problem related to the use of an outdated Google advertising SDK that was being replaced.

Well, maybe not. With the release of the new clipboard warning in the beta version of iOS 14, now with developers, TikTok seems to have been caught abusing the clipboard in a quite extraordinary way. So it seems that TikTok didn’t stop this invasive practice back in April as promised after all.

Worse, the excuse has now changed.

According to TikTok, the issue is now “triggered by a feature designed to identify repetitive, spammy behavior,” and has told me that it has “already submitted an updated version of the app to the App Store removing the anti-spam feature to eliminate any potential confusion.” In other words: We’ve been caught doing something we shouldn’t, we’ve rushed out a fix.

TikTok also told me that the platform “is committed to protecting users’ privacy and being transparent about how our app works.” No comment on that one. TikTok added that it “looks forward to welcoming outside experts to our Transparency Center later this year.”

When I covered the original TikTok clipboard issue, the company was adamant it was not their problem and related to an outdated library in their app. “The clipboard access issues,” a spokesperson told me, “showed up due to third-party SDKs, in our case an older version Google Ads SDK, so we do not get access to the information through this (presumably they do but we cannot speak to that). We are in the processes of updating so that the third-party SDK will no longer have access.”

TikTok assured me it was being fixed and questioned coverage that suggested this was an issue. “It’s a Google Ads SDK issue,” they assured again in a later email, “so we need to make the change in which version of that SDK we use. TikTok does not get access to the data, but we are updating regardless to resolve it.”

Now Apple’s welcome iOS 14 security and privacy changes have caught them red-handed still doing something they shouldn’t. Something they said was fixed. TikTok isn’t alone—other apps will now need to change deliberate or inadvertent clipboard access. But TikTok is the highest profile and most totemic of the apps caught out, given its prior coverage and wider issues.

The most acute issue with this vulnerability is Apple’s universal clipboard functionality, which means that anything I copy on my Mac or iPad can be read by my iPhone, and vice versa. So, if TikTok is active on your phone while you work, the app can basically read anything and everything you copy on another device: Passwords, work documents, sensitive emails, financial information. Anything.

Earlier in the year, when TikTok was first exposed, the security researchers acknowledged that there was no way to tell what the app might be doing with user data, and its abuse was lost in the mix of many others. Now it’s feeling different. iOS users can relax, knowing that Apple’s latest safeguard will force TikTok to make the change, which in itself shows how critical a fix this has been. For Android users, though, there is no word yet as to whether this is an issue for them as well.

Maybe it’s real – I don’t know.

What I do know is that the US government already spies on everyone using every app. In 2014, they were revealed to be spying on people using Angry Birds.

The media doesn’t report on that anymore.

The Forbes article even admits that other apps are doing the same thing, but TikTok doing it is important because they’re Chinese. Why is that important? Because it is better to give your data to spies in your own country, and the Jews, than to give it to the Chinese? Or because the media and government have an agenda against China?

Which are you more worried about: the US government having all your personal data or the Chinese government having all your personal data?

It’s not a difficult question.

What are the Chinese going to do with the data? Privacy invasion is bad, but the US government complaining about privacy invasion is insane.

Here’s the analogy:

A cold-blooded murderer kills a man in cold blood, shoots him right in the head in the middle of the street. He’s standing over the body, laughing maniacally. Then, a small child comes up and starts poking the body with a stick, and the man loses his mind, starts screaming that the child is evil, then goes around shouting, “someone has to stop this evil child, he’s poking this innocent dead body with a stick!” 

It is incoherent.

Every time you hear anything about China, you have to understand that the Jews have a plan to start a war with China. I am not a China defender. I am just telling you, we do not need a war with China. China is not a threat to us. The US government/media that is using a mob of black people and white women to tear down our history, to dehumanize us, to prepare us for a genocide – that entity is our enemy.

Let’s just deal with the fact that the government and media are literally preparing to use a mob to slaughter us first, okay? Then we can talk about the Chinese.