NewsLocal News


Denver cybersecurity expert calls proposed TikTok ban security theater

Posted at 9:19 PM, Jan 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-26 23:19:29-05

DENVER — Colorado Congressman Ken Buck wants to ban TikTok from all devices in the U.S, saying the Chinese-owned social media app poses national security risks. But Justin Whitehead, founder and CEO of Dever-based cybersecurity firm, Digital Silence, says the issue of security goes much deeper than banning just one app.

Whitehead says the bigger problem comes down to the personal information TikTok and other apps are collecting from you. He’s calling this proposed bill security theater, a term used to describe security measures that make you feel safe but aren't actually effective.

All social media apps are accessing your information, according to Whitehead, so the main issue really comes down to data security.

“You look at the entire Meta universe, like you said Facebook, everything tied to Google, everything that's being collected, and we're freely allowing it to be collected. There's no regulations in place that really stop them from doing this and then you have unscrupulous date brokers who sell this to anybody,” said Whitehead.

Buck’s bill would also ban any commercial activity with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance. Buck said he's proud to introduce this legislation to ensure that "every American’s privacy and security is protected from hostile foreign entities."

“You’re allowing a foreign country to pull all your data. Yes, that does make me nervous,” said Whitehead. “Just because it's sitting in China, does that mean somebody hacked China and actually stole your data form them, too?”

Whitehead believes there should be regulations in place, either at the national or state level, but doesn't see that happening anytime soon.

There are safety measures you can take when it comes to protecting your information. Whitehead suggests taking the time to learn about the privacy settings on your devices. You can turn off your geolocation settings, and even shut off targeted ads.

D7 follow up bar 2460x400.jpg
The Follow Up
What do you want Denver7 to follow up on? Is there a story, topic or issue you want us to revisit? Let us know with the contact form below.