Late. Mark Warner, D-Va., says former President Donald Trump was “right” to go after China-owned video-sharing app TikTok.
Warner made the comments during an appearance on Fox News Sunday, telling host Shannon Bream that the app represents a major threat to Americans’ privacy. He also warned parents against allowing their children to download the app on their phones.
“Well, I think Donald Trump was right. I mean, TikTok is a huge threat,” Warner told Bream. “So if you’re a parent and you have a child on TikTok, I would be very, very concerned. All the data that your child enters and receives is stored somewhere in Beijing.”
Warner is just the latest in a line of US politicians and government officials calling for a crackdown on TikTok. FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr urged regulators to ban the app in the United States, and FBI Director Christopher Wray warned that it is contributing to China’s status as the No. 1 thief of American data in the world.
“China’s massive hacking program is the world’s largest, and they have stolen more Americans’ personal and business data than all other nations combined,” Wray told lawmakers last week, adding specifically about TikTok: “[Dangers] include the possibility that the Chinese government could use it to control data collection on millions of users, or control the recommendation algorithm that could be used for influence operations if they chose, or to control software on millions of devices, allowing for potentially tactical compromise personal devices.”
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Wray’s statement came just weeks after Carr asked the US to do so ban on TikTok, arguing that efforts to separate its US-based branch from its headquarters in China were futile.
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“I don’t think there’s a way forward for anything other than a ban,” he told Axios at the time, adding that there isn’t “a world where you could come up with enough protection on the data that you could have enough confidence in , that it does not find its way back into the hands of [Chinese Communist Party].”
TikTok pushed back on Carr in a statement to FOX Business, arguing that the commissioner has no role in discussions with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The FCC has no authority to regulate TikTok, which is why Carr and others critical of Chinese apps have called on other federal agencies and Congress to act.
While TikTok representatives have insisted that users’ data is safe, company executives have admitted under oath that data is available from China.
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That access is also used frequently, as revealed in a comprehensive report by BuzzFeed earlier this year. The outlet obtained audio from more than 80 internal meetings at TikTok, which showed that US employees did not access user data and instead relied on Chinese employees to do so.