Parliamentarians warn of threats after report shows US data accessed in China

The very popular short video app TikTok is just “another invasive tool” for Beijing’s US spying activity, U.S. lawyers said the app’s U.S. private user data repeats in China. He said he had received news of an internal record leak indicating that he was being accessed.

At least between September and January 2021, Chinese engineers were able to access US data for the app. BuzzFeed News.. In addition, TikTok employees sometimes had to rely on their Chinese colleagues to determine how US data was flowing.

TikTok is owned by Beijing-based tech giant ByteDance, and the law requires companies to work with security agencies, so the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has access to data in the United States and elsewhere. He has expressed concern about whether he can do it.

According to the report, members of TikTok’s Trust and Safety Division said at a meeting in September 2021 that “everything can be seen in China.” That same month, the director addressed a Beijing-based engineer as “accessible to everything” and “master administrator.”

“Unsurprisingly, TikTok is another invasive tool for Communist China to break into Americans’ personal and proprietary information,” Kenbuck, a Republican, told The Epoch Times. “This app poses a very real threat to our national security, and the United States needs to take strong action to thwart CCP espionage campaigns.”

The popular China-owned platform has been aimed at minimizing its ties to Beijing for years. That concern triggered an effort by the Trump administration to ban TikTok’s activities in the United States. In many official statements, the company claims that it stores US user data locally and does not share it with Chinese authorities when requested.

China’s national information Law We demand that all organizations and citizens “support, support, and cooperate with national intelligence activities in accordance with the law” and “protect the secrets of national intelligence activities they know.” With that, Chinese companies have no choice but to hand over all the data required by the authorities and refuse to do so publicly, experts said.

Last August, a state-owned company linked to the country’s top Internet watchdog also acquired a 1% stake in one of ByteDance’s subsidiaries, raising concerns about the potential impact of Beijing on the platform.

People pass the headquarters of ByteDance, the parent company of video sharing app TikTok, in Beijing on September 16, 2020. (Greg Baker / AFP via Getty Images)

“US user data accessible to Chinese” private “enterprises is undoubtedly accessible to the Chinese Communist Party,” Rep. Lee Zeldin (RN.Y.) told the Radon Times.

At a parliamentary hearing in October, TikTok’s vice president and public policy officer Michael Beckerman denied that ByteDance employees had access to TikTok user data. He told lawmakers that a “world-famous US-based security team” is handling access to US user data and storing backups in Singapore.

The leaked recording suggests that Beckerman “lied to Congress, which is probably a felony,” Zeldin said.

“Even if millions of American personal data (mostly teenagers only) could have been accessed by the Chinese government and used for a number of CCP fraudulent activities, with our government You should warn the private sector, and for those who use this app, “he said.

“The US government needs to urgently determine what data was collected, what the Chinese government accessed, and how the data was used.”

Just before the June 17th Buzzfeed article, TikTok publication Migrating all US user traffic to US Oracle servers. He added that he will continue to use US and Singapore data centers as backup storage, but will remove data from US users from these sites over time.

“All the techniques that come from China are weapons.”

Liu Lipeng, a former Chinese internet censor, previously told The Epoch Times that TikTok was trying to hire people like him to monitor users in the United States. In 2018, Liu interviewed ByteDance about his position as TikTok Content Manager. This is expected to allow Liu to inspect “globalized video” on the platform.

“They are directly censoring American speech,” he said in an interview in 2020.

President Donald Trump issued An enforcement order to ban TikTok and the Chinese super app WeChat in August 2020 will allow the app to capture vast amounts of American data, “giving the Chinese Communist Party access to American personal and proprietary information. It threatens to become, and China may be able to track it. ” We spy on companies by creating personal information documents for federal employees and contractor locations, blackmail. “

Since then, Trump’s orders have been stalled by several proceedings and court orders.

In July 2021, President Joe Biden revoked the executive order and instead instructed the Ministry of Commerce to evaluate the platform to determine if it poses a national security risk.

Beijing Tik Tok
The TikTok (Douyin) symbol was shot at The Place Shopping Mall on August 22, 2020 at dusk in Beijing, China. (VCG / VCG via Getty Images)

Casey Fleming, CEO of cybersecurity analyst and strategic advisory firm Black Ops Partners, said Beijing’s global ambitions should warn of Chinese technology.

One of the things Fleming has always said to those who consult him about such issues is, “We need to understand that all the technology from China is weaponized,” EpochTV’s “China.” He told the “insider” program. “It is to weaken the United States and strengthen China.”

According to Fleming, personal data is “extremely valuable” because it depicts who you are connected to, their commerce, smartphone activity, and what they will do in the future. He added that the way TikTok is programmed to trap viewers in the app is also a form of psychological control.

“What most people don’t really understand is that the values ​​and goals of the Chinese Communist Party are completely opposite to the United States and the free world,” Fleming said.

“They want to have full control over it. Therefore, there is no independent company in China and the CCP has full command and control in China.”

Anyone engaged in business or other business in China is “subject to China’s CCP law.”

TikTok did not return a comment request by the press time.



Eva Fu is a New York-based writer of The Epoch Times, focusing on Sino-US relations, religious freedom, and human rights. Contact Eva at [email protected]