TikTok, a video sharing smartphone app popular with teenagers, has been the talk of the nation as of late, thanks to major concerns about the company’s Chinese pedigree.
The app, which slid into the cultural space once occupied by SnapChat, has been accused of collecting data on Americans and sending that information back to Beijing. Given just how nefarious China has acted toward the United States in recent years, this was certainly a concern.
As such US President Donald Trump has offered an ultimatum to the company: Sell to Microsoft or another US company within 45 days, or be banned from operating in American cyberspace.
And this is just the beginning of TikTok’s trouble, apparently.
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Families are suing TikTok in what has turned into a major legal action in federal court.
Dozens of minors, through their parents, are alleging that the video-sharing app collects information about their facial characteristics, locations and close contacts, and quietly sends that data to servers in China.
Twenty separate but similar federal lawsuits were filed over the past year on behalf of TikTok users in California, where the company has offices, and Illinois, which requires that technology companies receive written consent before collecting data on a person’s identity.
The suits now have been merged into one.
And on Tuesday, a panel of federal judges ruled that the case will be based in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Judge John Z. Lee was appointed as the presiding judge.
Concerns over China’s behavior have been mounting in 2020, particularly after it became apparent that the nation downplayed the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak, possibly in order to have the rest of the world caught off guard.
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