Washington – US: The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee chair and top Republican have called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate social media app TikTok and it’s Chinese parent ByteDance due to repeated misrepresentations over its handling of U.S. data.

Senators raised question over TikTok access US users data

The request on Tuesday from Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat, and Republican Marco Rubio saying the short video app permitted TikTok engineers and executives in China to repeatedly access private data of U.S. users. The senators said such access raised questions over TikTok’s claims to lawmakers and users that the data was protected.

In a letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) chairwoman Lina Khan, Democrat Senator Mark Warner and Republican Senator Marco Rubio urged her to scrutinize how well TikTok safeguards private data.

In light of repeated misrepresentations by TikTok concerning its data security, data processing, and corporate governance practices, we urge you to act promptly on this matter. Individuals in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have been accessing data on U.S. users, in contravention of several public representations, including sworn testimony in October 2021.

The Senators Letter Minutes

TikTok acknowledged China-based employees can have access to TikTok U.S. user data

The letter was written after BuzzFeed News reported that China-based employees of internet giant ByteDance have been repeatedly accessing the data about TikTok users in the USA market last month, The New York Post reported.

TikTok said that access to data is subject to a series of robust controls, safeguards like encryption for certain data, and authorization approval protocols overseen by our US based leadership/security team.

TikTok responded to the senators’ letter

TikTok has never shared U.S. user data with the Chinese government, nor would we if asked.

TikTok

Last week, TikTok told U.S. senators it was working on a final agreement with the Biden Administration that would fully safeguard user data and U.S. national security interests.

TikTok Chief Executive Shou Zi Chew told senators it was working with Oracle Corp on new advanced data security controls that we hope to finalize in the near future.

The senators’ letter cited a BuzzFeed news story about leaked internal recordings that said China-based employees of ByteDance had at the very least access to U.S. data. TikTok’s letter Thursday said hit had not misled Congress about its data and security controls and practices.

Last month, TikTok said it had completed migrating information on its U.S. users to servers at Oracle but it was still using U.S. and Singapore data centers for backup.

It has been nearly two years since a U.S. national security panel ordered parent company ByteDance to divest TikTok because of fears that U.S. user data could be passed on to China’s communist government.

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