Chinese App Tik Tok Sparks Debate in Parliament

  • Members of Senate in session at Parliament Building Nairobi on January 29, 2020.
    Members of Senate in session at Parliament Building Nairobi on January 29, 2020.
  • Chinese app Tik Tok was the subject of debate in parliament on Thursday, September 17 over concerns on data privacy.

    Nominated Senator Falhada Dekow Iman moved a motion to regulate the mobile application in the country stating that the collection of data should be addressed.

    "The application is able to collect information on their users including the location, phone contacts which is information that can be sold to third parties without consent," she stated.

    She also argued that even though it was an entertainment platform, it was also promoting cyberbullying and sexually explicit content. 

    Nominated Senator Falhada Dekow Iman
    Nominated Senator Falhada Dekow Iman speaking during a previous event.
    Daily Nation

    "Some of these challenges are sharing bad morals which is against religious beliefs especially with children currently at home,"  the Senator noted.

    Echoing her sentiments was Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei who also called for regulation of the social media platform.

    He argued that the country should make sure foreign apps help promote national values.

    Senator Isaac Mwaura noted that the regulation should not only target the Chinese app as there were other social media sites that also collect personal information.

    Earlier in June, 2020, the government through the Treasury Ministry announced that effective from January 1, 2021, all digital marketplaces operating in the country would be required to pay a 1.5% digital service tax after the Finance Act 2020 amendment of the Income Tax Act of Kenya.

    Digital service fees was added as a new tax for the financial year 2020/21 with KRA disclosing that it would apply to the income of a resident or nonresident person derived or accrued in Kenya from the provision of services through a digital marketplace.

    A person is required to deduct, account and remit the digital service tax to the Commissioner under these Regulations shall be required to keep records in accordance with section 23 of the Tax Procedures Act, 2015.

    On August 6, 2020, US President Donald Trump issued executive orders that would ban two apps, TikTok and WeChat, from operating in the US if they were not sold by their respective Chinese parent companies by September 15.

    US President Donald Trump speaking at a political rally.
    US President Donald Trump speaking at a political rally.
    NBC News

    In June 2020, the Indian government announced the banning of 59 apps developed by Chinese firms over concerns that these apps were engaging in activities that threatened 'national security and defence of India, which ultimately infringes upon the sovereignty and integrity of India.'