Saturday, May 18, 2024

Australia Uncovers China’s Surveillance Tactics Beyond TikTok, Says Using Global Apps, Games To Monitor Users

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Among the platforms mentioned are the ride-sharing app DiDi, the action game Genshin Impact, and the online marketplace Temu.

Australia Uncovers China’s Surveillance Tactics Beyond TikTok, Says Using Global Apps, Games To Monitor Users (Representational Image)

An Australian study shed light on China’s extensive use of various social media platforms, including online games, to monitor global internet users. According to the report, Beijing’s propaganda chiefs are collaborating with Chinese tech companies to extract personal data from a wide array of social media apps, platforms, and popular online games. Among the platforms mentioned are the ride-sharing app DiDi, the action game Genshin Impact, and the online marketplace Temu.

China is “working to extend its influence abroad to reshape the global information ecosystem…to strengthen its grip on power, legitimise its activities and bolster China’s cultural, technological, economic and military influence,” the report in Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a research organization that receives funding from the Australian government and others overseas, said.

Data obtained from these sources is deemed valuable to China, as stated by Samantha Hoffman, the lead author of the report. Despite the concerning findings, Chinese authorities have remained silent on the matter. This revelation comes amidst previous accusations by Beijing towards the Australian government of ‘anti-China hysteria’ regarding geopolitical and trade disputes.

“That could be data on the way that users make decisions. [With] Temu, it could be preferences that indicate the likes and dislikes of particular demographics,” she said. “If China is trying to shape the way that the world perceives and understands truth and reality, then this data will help to make those efforts more successful over time.”

The Australian study claims that China’s ambition is to harvest “strategically valuable” data from media, gaming, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies.

It states that China is “working to extend its influence abroad to reshape the global information ecosystem … to strengthen its grip on power, legitimize its activities and bolster China’s cultural, technological, economic and military influence.”

The report emphasizes the need for policymakers to establish robust defenses and countermeasures to thwart potential information campaigns orchestrated by Beijing. It also highlights that while much attention has been directed towards TikTok due to data privacy concerns, the issue extends beyond this platform.

According to Voice of America, TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, has said it will mount a court challenge in the United States to what it called an “unconstitutional” law making its way through Congress that could require the platform to be sold or banned in that country.

Last year, Australia said it would ban TikTok on government devices, including cell phones, because of security and surveillance fears.



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