COMMENTARY: TikTok and U.S. national insecurity | Guest Columns

High-tech spying is in the news because of the one-sided, hypocritical debate in Congress on whether the popular app TikTok is actually a tool for Chinese government data collection on American users. The sensitivity of the issue has to do not only with rivalry with China but also the fact that the US government has recently been the target of hackers.

In November 2021 President Biden banned use of Pegasus, a powerful Israeli-made surveillance tool, by all US government agencies. His order came in the wake of two developments: hackers who used Pegasus to break into the phones of some State Department employees, and investigative journalism that revealed use of Pegasus by many governments, democratic as well as autocratic, to break into the cell phones of political opponents and human rights activists.

— Mel Gurtov, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Portland State University and blogs at In the Human Interest.

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