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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Senators call on FTC Chairman Khan to investigate TikTok’s data security practices

Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan is facing new pressure from top Senate intelligence leaders to investigate TikTok after new reports that the company is sharing US data with China-based workers.

In a letter to Khan on Tuesday, the senses. Senate Intelligence Committee leaders Mark Warner (D-VA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) called on the FTC to open an investigation into TikTok’s data security practices. The call comes after a month of June BuzzFeed News The report details how ByteDance engineers based in China gained access to US data from TikTok until January 2022.

“In light of TikTok’s repeated misrepresentations regarding its data security, data handling and corporate governance practices, we urge you to act quickly on this matter,” the senators wrote.

The senators’ latest call for an investigation comes amid a fresh wave of regulatory skepticism against TikTok. After the BuzzFeed report was released last month that Brendan Carr, a Republican on the Federal Communications Commission, called on Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores. Later, a bipartisan group of senators wrote to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew demanding answers regarding the app’s data security practices.

On Friday, Chew responded to US lawmakers, confirming that China-based employees could access US user data. Chew also explained that TikTok was working with Oracle to implement “new advanced data security controls which we hope to finalize in the near future.”

Since 2020, government officials have accused TikTok of sharing US user data with the Chinese government, allowing Chinese officials to track and monitor Americans. TikTok tried to allay lawmakers’ concerns, but Chew’s latest letter drew even more criticism.

In a statement Tuesday, Warner said: “For years, TikTok has assured lawmakers that user data – and business operations – are indeed protected by a firewall from the People’s Republic of China.” He continued, “It’s a real concern when major communications apps are subject to authoritarian government demands.”

In a statement last week, Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) called on TikTok to testify before Congress in light of recent reports.

“TikTok’s response confirms that our fears about CCP influence within the company are well founded,” Blackburn said. “They should have been clear from the start, but instead tried to hide their work in secrecy. Americans need to know that if they’re on TikTok, Communist China has their information. TikTok must come back and testify before Congress. »

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