Who’s watching who in the great data-heist dance?


Who’s watching who in the great data-heist dance?

Everyone blames China for information theft, but there is little evidence and not much can be done anyway

Lawrence Dobbs

In early May, a curious new smartphone app began to rise stratospherically up the download charts. Called Zynn, it was essentially a clone of Chinese video-sharing app TikTok, with one key difference: users could earn money for posting their videos.

Zynn’s website said it was based in Palo Alto, California. In truth, it was the property of Kuaishou, another Chinese tech giant that competes with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance. Sinosceptic American politicians quickly called for investigation.

By mid-June, Zynn had been banned from iPhones and Android phones after allegations of a “pyramid scheme”. But not before having plenty of opportunity to gather up a grab-bag of personal data including, according to its privacy policy, location, financial account numbers and purchasing habits...

This article is reserved for Times Select subscribers.
A subscription gives you full digital access to all Times Select content.

Times Select

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems?
Email helpdesk@timeslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.