Snippet: Indiana Sues TikTok for Misleading Users on Child Safety and Data Security ☍

Shared on December 9, 2022

Makena Kelly for The Verge:

In his first complaint, Attorney General Todd Rokita claimed that TikTok deceived parents on the amount of sexual and drug-related content accessible to young users of the app. In a second complaint, Rokita’s office argued that Chinese-owned TikTok wrongfully misled users about the Chinese government’s authority to view sensitive user data obtained through the app.

“The TikTok app is a malicious and menacing threat unleashed on unsuspecting Indiana consumers by a Chinese company that knows full well the harms it inflicts on users,” Rokita said in a Wednesday statement. “With this pair of lawsuits, we hope to force TikTok to stop its false, deceptive and misleading practices, which violate Indiana law.”

Where to start—I think those of us in tech circles kinda feel that TikTok is kind of questionable, but maybe not necessarily worse than Meta and others. The difference is that it’s owned by a Chinese company, which does raise some national security concerns. We should know more about how services like TikTok collect and use data. Aside from TikTok, there’s way too many companies doing scummy things with our data, but if they’re within our borders, it’s apparently fine.

As a resident of Indiana, this hits home for me. This is at least 97% political grandstanding by Rokita, who, regardless of your politics, tends to play dirty and ignorant. He’s even picked fights with those within his own party, all to try to make a name for himself (he unsuccessfully ran for governor and senator in the past). This TikTok lawsuit, while it might have merit, feels like an attempt to be first to do anything.

How about taking a look at all foreign companies that collect user data? How about having better consumer protections and privacy laws in general? I’d love to be proven wrong, but until Indiana has laws like the California’s CCPA, I’m not buying the motivation.

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