Democratic Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet called for Apple and Google to boot TikTok from their app stores over concerns about the China-linked app posing a national security risk in a Thursday letter.
Republicans have been more vocal about their concerns over TikTok, with former President Donald Trump considering a ban in 2020, but Bennet has joined Democratic Illinois Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi in taking a strong stance against the app. Bennet expressed concern that TikTok’s Beijing-based parent company, ByteDance, might share Americans’ private data with the Chinese government in his Thursday letter.
“Like most social media platforms, TikTok collects vast and sophisticated data from its users, including faceprints and voiceprints,” Bennet wrote. “Unlike most social media platforms, TikTok poses a unique concern because Chinese law obligates ByteDance, its Beijing-based parent company, to ‘support, assist, and cooperate with state intelligence work.’”
“Beijing’s requirement raises the obvious risk that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) could weaponize TikTok against the United States, specifically, by forcing ByteDance to surrender Americans’ sensitive data or manipulate the content Americans receive to advance China’s interests,” he wrote.
TikTok has denied that the CCP has control over the app or its parent company, ByteDance, and has claimed that the type of data sharing that critics have warned of is not possible under its current agreement with the Chinese government. Tech analysts have disputed the company’s claims that its data security protocols prevent the CCP from obtaining Americans’ sensitive data.
“Unfortunately, Senator Bennet’s letter relies almost exclusively on misleading reporting about TikTok, the data we collect, and our data security controls,” a TikTok spokesman told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “It also ignores the considerable investment we have made through Project Texas—a plan negotiated with our country’s top national security experts—to provide additional assurances to our community about their data security and the integrity of the TikTok platform.”
The Republican National Committee called for a federal ban on TikTok on government employees’ devices and encouraged citizens to delete the app from their phones in a resolution last week, and several red states have already banned TikTok.
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