Senators want FTC to investigate TikTok

Several US Senators from the Intelligence Committee want the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate TikTok. They ask the regulator to look into the data security practices of the Chinese social network. They urge you to act as soon as possible.

This is according to a public letter (PDF) addressed to Lina Khan, the chairman of the FTC.

TikTok denies sharing data US users with Chinese government

The request to investigate how TikTok secures data stems from a letter that TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew sent to the Intelligence Committee last week. In it, the CEO acknowledged that a handful of Chinese employees of parent company ByteDance have access to data of American users.

Chew assured committee members that it was only limited information, including public videos and reactions to them. Only Chinese TikTok employees who follow “a number of internal security protocols” are allowed to access this data. The chief executive said TikTok is working closely with the government to better protect information belonging to US users.

The CEO also promised that the company’s cloud infrastructure will be overhauled. Currently, backups are stored on our own servers in Singapore. Oracle will take on this task in the short term. Finally, Chew assured that the personal information of US users will not be shared with the Chinese government or the military.

TikTok is a threat to national security

Both Democratic and Republican Senators were not comfortable with the answers provided by TikTok’s CEO. “The China-run company should have been honest from the start, but it tried to shroud its work in secrecy. Americans need to know that if they’re on TikTok, Communist China has their information,” Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn told Bloomberg news agency.

The Senators’ concerns went as far as approaching the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The telecom watchdog asked Google and Apple if they wanted to remove the TikTok app from their app stores. In its own words, TikTok posed an “unacceptable risk to national security” if it had “uncontrolled access” to the personal data of US users.

Intelligence committee asks FTC to investigate TikTok

The members of the Intelligence Committee do not leave it at that. In a letter addressed to FTC chairman Lina Khan, the Senators emphasize that they have been misled several times over the past year by high-ranking TikTok employees. For example, employees would not be able to view data from American TikTok users. Chew’s confession tells the Intelligence Committee that the fork is different.

“In light of repeated misrepresentations by TikTok regarding its data security, data processing and governance practices, we urge you to act immediately in this matter,” the Senators asked the FTC.

The telecom watchdog has not yet responded to the request of the Intelligence Committee.

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