Politics & International Studies

Cyber warfare, influence operations, and TikTok bans

Cyber warfare, influence operations, and TikTok bans

States must protect their sovereignty and citizens against the onslaught of malicious actors now using tools of the internet age, such as apps.


Sriparna Pathak, Associate Professor, Chinese Studies and International Relations, Jindal School of International Affairs, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.


While a concrete and foolproof solution is yet to emerge on preventing conventional conflicts, a peculiar situation has emerged wherein warfare has become grey zone warfare–somewhere between peace and conflict. As the world has moved and adapted to information technology, the domain itself has become a tool for waging warfare against entities ranging from State to non-State actors.

Influence operations, cyber warfare, data theft among a long list of others have amalgamated to pose national security concerns to States across the globe. The peculiar part of it is that it is leveraged by state and non-state actors against others, while on the ground, there is no warfare and states are technically ‘at peace’.

The usage of technology for malicious purposes has become heated up once again as the United States (US). Senate in April, passed a legislation giving TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance roughly nine months to divest the US assets of the short video app, or to face a countrywide ban. In addition to the U.S. there are at least 13 other countries that have banned TikTok to varying degrees; and examples range from Afghanistan to Nepal to India to Belgium to Canada to Denmark. India was among the first countries to ban TikTok in 2020.

Published in: Hindustan Times

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