Sens. Schumer, Cotton Lead Effort To Assess TikTok's Security Risk

In a rare bipartisan effort, Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) are leading a new charge against ByteDance Technology -- the Beijing-based parent company of video app TikTok.

After noting that TikTok has been downloaded by more than 110 million U.S. consumers, Senator Schumer tweeted on Thursday: “It’s required to adhere to Chinese law. That means it can be compelled to cooperate with intelligence work controlled by China’s Communist Party.”

As such, Sens. Schumer and Cotton are requesting that U.S. intelligence officials assess TikiTok’s U.S. presence — and the degree to which it poses a security risk to the country.

The request comes just weeks after Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) called for a formal investigation into TikTok.

Rubio said he wanted a U.S. national security panel to review TikTok’s acquisition by ByteDance in 2017. At the time, the app was named

Rubio also said he wanted the panel to determine the degree to which ByteDance is censoring politically sensitive content, which he considers to be a national security risk.

Late last month, it emerged that TikTok has a history of censuring political dissenters in its home country of China.

According to internal documents obtained by The Guardian, the app had instructed content moderators to scrub mentions of Tiananmen Square, Tibetan independence, and other topics the Chinese government would rather not see discussed in the public arena.

In response, ByteDance insisting the content guidelines obtained by The Guardian were dated, and no longer used by its moderators.

Taking on more established video-sharing platforms, TikTok has become one of the most downloaded offerings on Apple’s App Store.

Unless TikTok is sidelined by U.S. policymakers, analysts see the app as posing a real threat to more established players.

Specifically, TikTok could challenge Snapchat, eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson recently speculated.

For better or for worse, TikTok is generating a lot of buzz.

In June, Talkwalker said it detected 2.6 million mentions of the app, which was up by about 62% since January, according to the social analytics firm.

1 comment about "Sens. Schumer, Cotton Lead Effort To Assess TikTok's Security Risk".
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  1. Timmy O'Tool from AnonBgone, October 25, 2019 at 9:48 a.m.

    I see your reasoning, but by the same measure, my home address is not personal information either, as I live here with 5 other people. My home phone number also serves multiple people.

    My first name is also pretty common, and much like my IP address it must be joined with at least my last name before you come close to identifying me.

    The biggest problem is Data Brokers, the internet's new best friend. Data is being collected because it has value, either you are building user profiles, or selling your data (via a broker) to others, who are building profiles.

    You have your anonymous information, maybe just an IP address and a search term entered by a user, along with the date and time. It's not personal information no? So you sell it on to a Data Broker, and the broker sells it to Facebook.

    Now because you use Facebook every day, they know every IP address you have ever had, now you have given them a list of search terms they can match up to those IP addresses.

    So Facebook have bought 'anonymous' data and managed to make it personal again. Thousands of companies do this very thing, they take general data and marry it together, getting closer and closer to an actual profile of you, adding an email address here and a phone number there, until they have it all.

    IP addresses coupled with one or two other metrics allow a company to match data easily. They are worse for user privacy than even a name, your first, last and middle names are shared by a load of other people worldwide, your IP address pinpoints between 1 and a handful of people, all in one geographical area.

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