EXCLUSIVE: Senators Ask FTC to Investigate TikTok for Data Breaches

A minimum of one Republican Senator and one Democratic Senator are asking the Federal Trade Commission for TikTok to be investigated. “There is bipartisan consensus on this threat and no excuse for inaction while Americans remain at risk,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said in exclusive comments to MRC Free Speech America.

Rubio and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), requested that Lina Khan, FTC Chair Lina Khan investigate allegations from Shou Zi Cheng, TikTok CEO, about the sharing of U.S. user information with communist China employees.

Rubio spoke out in an exclusive comment to MRC Free Speech America about the importance and necessity of investigating TikTok. “TikTok is a known national security risk that robs Americans of their privacy and places users’ sensitive data into the hands of the Chinese Communist Party,” he said. “There is bipartisan consensus on this threat and no excuse for inaction while Americans remain at risk. The Biden Administration must ban TikTok from U.S. telecommunications networks.”

A statement from Warner’s office included the text of the letter to Khan:

“We write in response to public reports that 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. This new report has prompted us to ask for your immediate intervention. [an] … investigation on the basis of apparent deception by TikTok, and coordinate this work with any national security or counter-intelligence investigation that may be initiated by the U.S. Department of Justice.”

Sentences also raised concerns over TikTok parent company ByteDance. It is owned partially by the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP. 

“TikTok’s Trust and Safety department was aware of these improper access practices and governance irregularities, which – according to internal recordings of TikTok deliberations – offered PRC-based employees unfettered access to user information, including birthdates, phone numbers, and device identification information. Recent updates to TikTok’s privacy policy, which indicate that TikTok may be collecting biometric data such as faceprints and voiceprints (i.e. individually-identifiable image and audio data, respectively), heighten the concern that data of U.S. users may be vulnerable to extrajudicial access by security services controlled by the CCP.”

NewsBusters reports that Chew has retracted after asserting that employees based in China can gain access to data stored by U.S. users. 

Chew, in an email to U.S. senators, stated that “Employees from outside the US can have access TikTok US user information subject to a series robust cybersecurity controls, authorization approval protocols monitored by our US security team,” Chew claimed. The New York Times.

Chew allegedly claimed that the accessed data required “approval” based on data classification.

Chew said that TikTok uses an approval and data classification process within its organization. This allows for the assigning of levels of access according to data’s classification, and requires authorizations for US data access. According to the classified system, the level of authorization required depends on how sensitive the data is.

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