For decades, we have been used to seeing almost everything we buy with the label ‘Made in China.’ It was convenient for every party, consumer and seller alike. However, lately Chinese tech products have caused quite a lot of concern in the free world.

Author: Zoltán Kész

TikTok is one of the most talked about issues. The app’s popularity casts a shadow on the danger it poses regarding data collection and the apparent link between the company and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). No surprise that several governments have already taken steps to limit the use of the app. First, the United States banned TikTok on government devices, followed by some universities doing the same. Canada is likely to follow, and many people hope the slow and bureaucratic EU legislation will pass something similar.

Another concern is the Huawei 5G network, which some EU countries have already given up. Still, most member states depend on this Chinese technology, although many alternative service providers come from the free world.

Lately, it has caused uproar in Australia to learn that the notorious Chinese companies Hikvision and Dahua provided surveillance cameras to government buildings. According to James Paterson, the opposition spokesperson for cybersecurity and countering foreign interference, the Commonwealth was “riddled with CCP spyware,” and he urged the government to remove them immediately. Some months ago, the same took place in the United Kingdom, where these two companies were banned due to human rights issues and possible espionage.

The latest news that has caused worry has come from Android users in China, where the cell phones of popular Chinese manufacturers like Xiaomi, OnePlus, and Oppo Realme collect a massive amount of data via their operating systems. Although, as of now, we only have information that this concerns only phones in China, we must be cautious about using similar Chinese tech products and services. Otherwise, we will end up having our data ‘Sold in China.’

Photo credit: Envato

Zoltán Kész is a former Hungarian MP and Government Affairs Manager at the Consumer Choice Center and advisor of Civitas Institute.