TikTok, a popular short-video-sharing platform, has been a subject of concern for national security in several countries, including the United States. The primary reasons for this concern revolve around data privacy, potential foreign influence, and cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
A major apprehension associated with TikTok's influence on national security revolves around the issue of data privacy. TikTok gathers extensive user data, encompassing location data, device specifications, internet browsing records, and content created by users. This information is maintained on servers overseen by ByteDance, TikTok's parent company located in China. According to TikTok, this situation gives rise to worries that the Chinese government might have the potential to access and utilize this data. access or demand access to this data, compromising the privacy and security of TikTok users, including government officials and military personnel. The ownership and Chinese roots of TikTok have sparked worries regarding the possibility of foreign influence on the platform
According to a study conducted, authorities are concerned that Beijing might utilize TikTok as a means to disseminate propaganda, false information, or mold public perceptions to serve its own agenda. This potential impact is particularly troubling in nations that have significant strategic ties with China on the geopolitical stage. The widespread global appeal of TikTok presents an enticing opportunity for cyberattacks. Any breaches or weaknesses in the platform's security could result in far-reaching consequences for national security. For instance, if malicious entities were to infiltrate
TikTok's user data or manipulate content on a large scale, they might be able to disseminate false information, influence public opinion, or carry out other actions that could harm a country's security. The platform's algorithm-driven content recommendation system has been criticized for promoting sensational and divisive content. This can contribute to the spread of disinformation and the manipulation of public opinion, which can have severe consequences for national security. False information can lead to public unrest, undermine trust in institutions, and disrupt the decision-making process.
An article published by the DefenseCoop stated the utilization of TikTok by government authorities and armed forces members may present a threat to national security. If classified information is unintentionally revealed on the platform, it could be manipulated by foreign intelligence organizations for covert operations. Even apparently harmless material posted by individuals in critical positions may furnish valuable observations or openings for malicious entities.
TikTok's activities have become enmeshed in wider geopolitical conflicts involving China and other nations. For instance, the United States has implemented measures to limit the usage of TikTok among government personnel and contractors due to apprehensions regarding data security. These actions could exacerbate international tensions and influence collaborations related to national security.
Murat Elahi served in the Air Force for approximately 21 years (now retired) and has been teaching at the college level since 2011. In his career, Elahi has served his country in various leadership roles. He was in charge of all law enforcement and security operations of DOD facilities in Area II in Nevada and American assets on the border of Syria, designed and executed security for the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, the Royal family of Saudi Arabia, nuclear weapon transport and extractions, various NASA space shuttles, and the NASCAR speedways, and served as an advisor for the physical security upgrade with self-healing material on the International Space Station. Elahi led security operations on bases such as Tyndall, Nellis, Incirlik, Columbus, and Langley and is a DOD-certified translator speaking Urdu and Turkish. While translating, he served in some undercover roles with the DIA. Elahi holds a Six Sigma Black Belt and a Ph.D. in homeland security and criminal justice from Walden University. Elahi would describe his teaching philosophy is that all we need to change the world is a student, a teacher, a laptop, and the will to learn.
Currently, Elahi is a professor and advisor at a various universities and a faculty lead at Sonoran Desert Institute. He has been married for 20 years and has a 12-year-old daughter.