Technology

US Senators Call for Investigation of TikTok and Data Security

In mid-June, TikTok announced that all data relating to US users of the platform was now stored on the Oracle group’s servers in the US. (Photo: 123RF)

SAN FRANCISCO — A U.S. parliamentary committee on Tuesday called for an investigation into TikTok’s data privacy practices, intensifying pressure on Chinese social network ByteDance.

At the center of the controversy was a Buzzfeed article published in mid-June alleging that Bytedance employees in China had repeatedly accessed non-public data on the app’s US users.

TikTok confirmed this information and tried to respond to the concerns of American elected officials, but failed to calm them down.

Mark Warner (Democrat) and Marco Rubio (Republican), chairman and vice chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Intelligence, wrote to the U.S. consumer protection agency, the FTC, asking them to investigate the “apparent hoax.”

“Employees based in China had full access to user information, including dates of birth, phone numbers and other authentication data,” they elaborate, before mentioning a Chinese law that requires companies in the country to share their data if asked to. Beijing.

“As we have repeatedly stated, TikTok has never shared US user data with the Chinese government and would not do so if asked to do so,” a spokesperson for the app solicited by AFP responded.

In mid-June, TikTok announced that all data relating to US users of the platform was now stored on the Oracle group’s servers in the US.

On Friday, the network sent out a letter to U.S. senators to assure them that access to information is being carried out in accordance with an authorization protocol and “tight” controls.

Representatives of the group also explained that ByteDance engineers will only be able to work on the platform algorithms in the Oracle computing environment without extracting data.

But TikTok may increase the number of press releases, elected officials insist. Brendan Carr, US Telecommunications Agency commissioner appointed by Donald Trump, called on Apple and Google to remove the network from their mobile app stores.

“TikTok is not just a fun video-sharing app,” he wrote to them, calling the platform “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” and “a sophisticated surveillance tool.”

During his time in the White House, Donald Trump tried to ban the app by various executive orders.

President Joe Biden withdrew them. But TikTok is still under review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an agency that assesses the risks of any foreign investment to US national security.

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