Trust Over Data: The Curious Case of TikTok and the Data Flow

By: Sonny Zulhuda

As you would reckon, we recently witnessed how the world politics (and curious millennials) have been affected by the issue of cross-border data flow. How safe and trustworthy is our connection and data flow?

Other relevant questions will be: Should we allow people’s personal data be transferred to other country? How vulnerable is it? Should we have a law to regulate it?

On 15th July 2020, a European court decision makes it illegal for European companies to transfer personal data to the other side of Atlantic. This heavily affected businesses and transaction between Europe and the United States. So,  this would challenge the operation of many platforms who originate from the US like Facebook and Instagram.

The reason? Because the European judge decided it was not safe to transfer people’s personal data to the US, considering the applicability of some US laws that mandate surveillance!

So.. THE EUROPE DOES NOT TRUST THE AMERICAN?

Just a few weeks after that on 6th August 2020, President Donald Trump had issues an Executive Order making it illegal for Chinese online platforms TikTok and Wechat to operate in the US unless they sold the business to American company.

The reason? Because the US alleges that the data of Americans obtained by those hugely popular platforms would be subject to the Communist Government acquisition and espionage.

In other words; THE US GOVERNMENT DOES NOT TRUST THE CHINESE?

TikTok is now believed to work out within the given deadline to reach an agreement with…… Microsoft! 🙂

“Singkat cerita” (story cut short), so much is at stake when we talk about data flow between borders. Transferring information across country border is considered a big deal. But yet, it is still the order of the day, something we cannot do without!

For the country like Indonesia, whether it is as a recipient or source of cross-border data transfer, trustworthy system is a prerequisite.

Where to start, and to do about it? Well, I don’t really have the answer. Because I will get you with more questions when discussing this.

(I will be speaking about this on Wednesday at this precious event organised by the Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (“Kemkominfo RI”) and the World Summit for Information Society (WSIS). The topic selected is about how to ensure a reliable, safer and trustworthy digital connection for Indonesia. This event is plausible. Kudo to Kominfo!)

Come and join me this Wednesday! (Err.. It’s OK, we still can talk on this some other day though!) 🙂

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