A member of the Senate Intelligence Committee is asking on Apple and Google to take away TikTok from their app shops over issues about nationwide safety, within the newest indication of mounting scrutiny on the short-form video app from members of Congress.
In a letter despatched to the 2 tech giants on Thursday, Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet calls TikTok “an unacceptable threat to the national security of the United States” and cites the identical issues which have prompted the federal authorities and greater than half of US states to limit TikTok from official units and networks.
Writing to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Bennet highlighted fears that China may use its nationwide safety legal guidelines to pressure TikTok or its father or mother, ByteDance, at hand over the non-public info of the app’s US customers. The legal guidelines in query, Bennet wrote, require organizations within the nation to “cooperate with state intelligence work” and to permit the federal government to entry firm sources. ByteDance’s founder is Chinese and the corporate has places of work in China. TikTok has additionally disclosed to European customers that their knowledge could also be accessed by workers based mostly in China.
China may doubtlessly attempt to form what US customers see on the app, Bennet warned, with potential implications for international coverage and democracy.
“We should accept the very real possibility that [China] could compel TikTok, via ByteDance, to use its influence to advance Chinese government interests,” Bennet wrote, “for example, by tweaking its algorithm to present Americans content to undermine U.S. democratic institutions or muffle criticisms” of China’s dealing with of Hong Kong, Taiwan or ethnic minorities.
Apple and Google didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
“Unfortunately, Senator Bennet’s letter relies almost exclusively on misleading reporting about TikTok, the data we collect, and our data security controls,” mentioned Brooke Oberwetter, a TikTok spokesperson.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is predicted to testify earlier than a House committee in March to debate the corporate’s knowledge safety practices.
There isn’t any proof that the kind of spying or manipulation US officers worry has really occurred, however safety consultants have warned that it’s a risk.
TikTok has denied that it could ever hand over US consumer knowledge to the Chinese authorities. It has more and more moved to wall off its US operations from the remainder of its enterprise, technologically and organizationally — a part of what the corporate has described as a good-faith effort to deal with the nationwide safety issues.
In her assertion, Oberwetter mentioned Bennet’s letter “ignores the considerable investment we have made through Project Texas—a plan negotiated with our country’s top national security experts—to provide additional assurances to our community about their data security and the integrity of the TikTok platform.”
TikTok has spent years negotiating a possible nationwide safety cope with the US authorities that will search to resolve a number of the issues, however the talks have been mired by delays, resulting in frustration amongst some members of Congress. In current months, a number of US lawmakers have launched payments that will ban TikTok from all US units, together with private ones.
Some different US officers have additionally referred to as on Apple and Google to voluntarily take away TikTok from their app shops.
Last 12 months, Brendan Carr, a commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission, wrote a letter to the businesses urging them to de-list TikTok. The FCC doesn’t regulate app shops, however Carr has mentioned that his company’s expertise coping with Chinese telecom corporations has knowledgeable his views on the matter. The FCC has moved to dam Chinese companies together with Huawei and ZTE from the US market, over fears that their wi-fi networking gear may very well be used to gather info on US communications.
Although the main members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Virginia Democrat Mark Warner and Florida Republican Marco Rubio, have additionally been outspoken critics of TikTok, the 2 lawmakers had not been invited to co-sign Bennet’s letter earlier than it was despatched, based on a spokesperson for Bennet. Rubio is an writer of one of many payments in search of to ban TikTok from the United States, whereas Warner has mentioned he would favor to see a invoice that targets a broader class of worrisome apps, quite than a single app akin to TikTok.
Source web site: www.cnn.com