Why banning TikTok is not the answer
I just came across a post on Mastodon by the Nextcloud team stating that Europe should follow the example of India and the U.S. in banning TikTok, because the app is not following EU laws.
There are several issues I have with this idea.
The most obvious one is that if you want to do that, you have to ban almost every U.S. internet company along with them. Facebook? We already know they have no respect for European privacy laws. Microsoft? Under investigation by German privacy offices. Google? I don't even want to go there. Singling out and banning one app over privacy concerns can't be the answer to this problem and will only lead to costly lawsuits.
I also don't think that anything Trump wants to do should serve as an example. He's not doing it to “protect digital sovereignty and the privacy of the American people.” He's doing it because he has China issues. This is about politics. Nothing else. Trump can't stand the fact that a Chinese company is so successful in the U.S. I'm not saying that the issues that have been raised over TikTok by technology experts are invalid. I'm saying they're not the reason Trump is doing this. If there was no evidence about any wrongdoing from ByteDance, and if they could absolutely prove that all data from U.S. citizens is stored on and never leaves servers located in the U.S., but somebody came to him saying, you know, I think this Chinese app is doing something fishy, or if some unproven claims from dubious sources circulated online, he would be doing the exact same thing.
Finally, if you ban an a service that's popular with teenagers without giving them an alternative with equal or at least similar functionality, you will break things. They will lose trust in democracy, and the society as a whole.
I think the focus needs to be on education instead. Educate the public, and, most importantly, educate the teachers, who can then pass their knowledge on to their students.