Tik Tok. Huawei. Tencent. Giant Chinese companies have become controversial players in the United States as we try to determine their motives and whether they are just another arm of the Chinese government as they vacuum up incredible amounts of data on American citizens. Data which we willingly provide as we ignore terms of service so we can post another picture or video or interact with our friends. And given the lax regulation of social media companies in America, allowing them to sell our information as a key part of their revenue stream, our data flows like a faucet to China at a moment in time when they are severely restricting the information coming back to us. In her book, “Trafficking Data”, author Aynne Kokas explains how, in her view, China is winning the battle for digital sovereignty as it more broadly defines information that is important to its national security. Beijing is collecting data on people nearly everywhere. Their platforms track people’s preferences and whereabouts, while also giving the Chinese government control over a powerful tool for shaping people’s worldview.
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