The Chinese-owned video application TikTok might be a nationwide security danger to the U.S. and ought to be investigated, 2 key senators said in a letter to the acting director of national intelligence.
” TikTok is a prospective counterintelligence risk we can not neglect,” Republican politician Senator Tom Cotton and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stated in a letter Thursday to Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire.
TikTok, owned by the Chinese business Bytedance Inc., has been downloaded over 110 million times in the U.S. and its growing popularity produces “national security dangers,” the senators composed. Their concerns include the safety of data on the platform, possible censorship and possible foreign impact projects in the U.S., they stated.
The letter becomes part of growing pressure on the U.S. federal government to investigate ByteDance and, more broadly, step up efforts to evaluate the possible security threats of Chinese technology. Earlier this month, Republican politician Senator Marco Rubio wrote to the Treasury Department to request for a nationwide security investigation into ByteDance, the world’s largest start-up with a valuation of $75 billion according to CB Insights.
Schumer and Cotton warned Thursday that China might oblige TikTok to turn over the information it gathers, that includes “user content and communications, IP address, location-related information, device identifiers, cookies, metadata, and other sensitive individual details.”
” Without an independent judiciary to examine demands made by the Chinese government for information or other actions, there is no legal system for Chinese companies to appeal if they disagree with a request,” the senators wrote. Although TikTok states that it runs outside China and keeps U.S data in the U.S., ByteDance should follow Chinese laws and turn over any information requested by the government, they included.
TikTok is a reasonably rare example of a Chinese social networks platform attaining global success. It is primarily known for lighthearted content– including lip syncing and dancing– submitted by mainly teenage users. The app’s appeal showed signs of waning in the 3rd quarter of the year, with global user-downloads falling 4%from a year earlier.
Beyond the security of user data, TikTok could likewise be used for spreading disinformation, similar to the campaign Russia waged in the U.S. ahead of the last governmental election, the senators said. It is “a possible target of foreign impact campaigns like those performed throughout the 2016 election on U.S.-based social media platforms,” according to the letter.
The senators said they also are worried that the platform censors or manipulates material. “TikTok supposedly censors products deemed politically delicate to the Chinese Communist Party,” they stated. This consisted of “content associated to the recent Hong Kong demonstrations, as well as references to Tiananmen Square, Tibetan and Taiwanese independence, and the treatment of Uighurs.”
Facebook Inc.’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has likewise cautioned that the censored version of the Internet could spread across the globe if other platforms do not combat for totally free speech. 6 of the top 10 biggest Internet platforms are now in Chinese, he stated.
” Until recently, the Internet in practically every nation outside China has been defined by American platforms with strong free-expression values,” he stated in an address at Georgetown University last week. “There’s no assurance these worths will win out.”
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