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US senators ask to investigate TikTok for alleged Chinese espionage

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The US Senate Intelligence Committee has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether Chinese authorities are accessing US user data through the TikTok app.

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The letter, signed by the chairman of the committee, Mark Warner, and the vice-president, Marco Rubio, urges the Commission to study in detail the use that Chinese engineers and officials could make of the data collected by TikToK and the company that owns it, also Chinese ByteDance.

We are writing in response to public reports that individuals in the People’s Republic of China have accessed US user data, contradicting other public statements and, specifically, an October 2021 sworn testimony.″, states the letter.

The senators also underscore the app’s link to the Chinese government, which holds a percentage of parent company ByteDance Technology.

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In the letter, the Intelligence Committee cites an investigative article by Buzzfeed that claims Chinese employees of TikTok and ByteDance regularly accessed sensitive data of American users, according to a leak of recordings of internal company meetings.

According to that piece, the company transfers some of that collected data to officials in Beijing, despite the fact that TikTok representatives denied during a hearing before the United States Congress, held in October 2021, any contact between the popular app. and the Chinese government.

Recent updates to TikTok’s privacy policy, indicating that it can collect biometric data such as facial prints and voice records, raise concerns that US user data may be vulnerable to extrajudicial access by law enforcement agencies. chinese security”, adds the letter.

TikTok has been under scrutiny since 2019, when the former president of the United States, Donald Trump (2017-2021), demanded that ByteDance sell the application to US companies in order to continue operating in the country, although this measure was never carried out.

In Europe, last week TikTok pledged to align its practices with European Union (EU) rules on advertising and consumer protection, after dialogue with the European Commission (EC) and the network of national consumer protection authorities ( CPC).

Source: Gestion

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