Senators Urge Committee Investigating TikTok to Impose ‘Strict Structural Restrictions’ in US

Two more senators have called for TikTok to be restricted from operating in the United States, citing alleged risks to national security and consumer privacy posed by the Chinese-owned platform.

In a letter sent Thursday, the U.S. Senator. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) told the U.S. Commission on Foreign Investment (CFIUS), which is currently investigating the 2017 merger of TikTok and, to “close the investigation expeditiously and ensure that the impose strict structural restrictions on Chinese parent company ByteDance — including “potential separation” of the two companies. The letter was addressed to the US Treasury Secretary and his CFIUS Chairman. Janet Yellen.

In the letter, Blumenthal and Moran cite a December disclosure by ByteDance — reported by. new york times — Four employees obtained data from several TikTok users, including two journalists, and attempted to determine the source of suspected leaks of internal conversations and documents to journalists.

Despite ByteDance’s claims that it fired the employees involved, Blumenthal and Moran believe that the scheme was in fact confirmed by a “formal ‘internal audit and risk management’ team” led by senior management, including TikTok’s CEO. claimed to have been carried out. Show Choo Choo.

“This incident also occurred at a time when TikTok management repeatedly promised that personal data of Americans would be safe from such espionage,” said TikTok vice president/public policy. The letter reads, citing the testimony of those responsible. Michael Beckermanbefore the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection in October 2021.

The letter goes on to state that TikTok’s engineers “continue to have unsafe access to the personal data of Americans, control its algorithmic recommendation system, and that access continues to enable spying on journalists.” “There is.”

To support their claims, senators wall street journal TikTok’s product development and management, including monitoring of its algorithmic recommendation system, remains based in China, it reports.Another article published by forbes In August, about 300 current employees of TikTok and ByteDance reported working or having worked for Chinese propaganda outlets such as the Xinhua News Agency and China Global Television, also under the restrictions. is retained as evidence in support of

Elsewhere, Blumenthal and Moran cite an October study. consumer report It found that TikTok tracks Americans, including those not using the platform, by embedding “tracking technology” on partner websites. “While this collection effort is ostensibly a promotional activity by the company, by sending non-user IP addresses, unique ID numbers, and information about what individuals are doing on the site to TikTok, we are allowing those individuals It gives us a deep understanding of the interests, behaviour, and other sensitive issues,” the letter adds.

Despite TikTok’s assurance that it will no longer censor videos critical of the Chinese government or other authoritarian regimes, the senator went on to say that the platform “has made certain content opaque, including blocking LGBTQ accounts.” It continues to be downgraded or deleted to .

TikTok “clearly relies heavily on ByteDance for its operations,” the letter concludes, “and is therefore indebted to the Chinese government.”

Thursday’s letter is just the latest in a series of recent denunciations of TikTok by US lawmakers. in December, President Joe Biden has signed a bill banning nearly 4 million government employees from using the platform on agency-owned devices, joining at least 27 state governments and several universities in passing similar measures. In the same month, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-flow.), Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Contact Raja Krishnamooti (D-Ill.) has introduced a bill that would effectively ban TikTok and other China-based social media platforms from operating in the United States. and earlier this month this is.Michael Bennett (D-Col.) urged Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores over national security concerns, while the CCP urged ByteDance to “surrender or manipulate sensitive data of Americans.” It claimed it could “weaponize” the platform against the United States by forcing Content received by Americans to further China’s interests. ”

These lawmakers were relieved by the announcement in June that TikTok began routing U.S. user data to Oracle cloud servers located in the U.S., began auditing its algorithms, and created a new division to manage only the platform’s U.S. user data. I didn’t.

Concerns about TikTok are widespread in other parts of the West, especially in Europe. In January, Zi Chew met with European Union officials about concerns about child safety and data privacy, among others. On Friday, TikTok’s general manager of European operations said: rich waterworth, tried to allay some of these concerns in a blog post. Citing a commitment to “keep European communities and their data safe and secure,” he said the company plans to establish two more European data centers. He added that it “continues to oppose” the data governance strategy it has set for Europe, which includes further reducing employee access to European data, minimizing data flows outside of Europe, and It includes plans to store user data locally.

Zi Chew is scheduled to appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on March 23 to comment on TikTok’s data security and user privacy policies, the app’s impact on children, and its ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

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