The debate on whether to ban TikTok is not about free speech
The intellectual debate among classical liberals on the necessary or unnecessary limits of free speech has been going on for quite a while. It is mostly accepted that liberal democracies must be the guardians of free speech and help other countries achieve the same end. However, a new, 21st-century version of liberal democracy entails admitting that when one has authoritarian regimes to counter, one must have security measures to defend our democracies against totalitarian countries.
We at the Consumer Choice Center believe in free speech and tech innovation and in being free from surveillance from rogue regimes. Free trade with private companies is also vital to world trade. Still, when it comes to the Chinese communist regime owning a part of a company, it worries us to see that our liberal democracies may be harmed by the possibility of European consumers’ devices being spied on.
Obviously, I am referring to the popular social media platform TikTok here. Due to national security concerns, governments in North America are taking serious steps against the Chinese app. In the USA, it has been banned by the federal government for their employees on work-related devices, and also some universities have followed suit. Canadian authorities are equally considering a similar ban for the very same security reasons. Should the European Union do the same? If it intends to ensure the security and privacy of its citizens, liberal democracies in the EU cannot deny this new reality of the 21stcentury.
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