Senators Push To Declassify Information About TikTok

Two lawmakers are urging the Director of National Intelligence to declassify information about the popular app TikTok and its ties to the Chinese government, arguing that doing so will help TikTok users understand potential security threats posed by the app.

“As Congress and the administration consider steps to address TikTok's ties to the Chinese government, it is critically important that the American people, especially TikTok users, understand the national security issues at stake,” Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) say in a letter sent to National Intelligence head Avril Haines.



The lawmakers write that they are “deeply troubled” by information in recent classified briefings given to Congress.

“TikTok is a weapon in the hands of the Chinese government, and poses an active risk to our democratic institutions and national security,” they write.

Blumenthal added in a post on X (formerly Twitter) that "the American people deserve & need to know the chilling truth about TikTok."

"American intelligence & law enforcement officials on a bipartisan basis have repeatedly raised alarms that the Chinese government can use its direct & absolute control over ByteDance to exert malign influence over what users see on TikTok & spy on their private information," he posted.

The move comes one week after the House of Representatives voted in favor of a bill that would prohibit app stores and websites from distributing TikTok unless parent company ByteDance, based in China, sells the app within 180 days.

The Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act (H.R. 7521) was largely driven by concerns that the Chinese government may be able to access data about TikTok's users, and may use the app to spread propaganda in the U.S.

Civil rights groups condemned the bill, arguing that banning a communications platform would violate the First Amendment rights of millions of TikTok users. The groups have also argued that banning the app wouldn't prevent Chinese government from obtaining data about U.S. residents from other sources.

“If Congress wants to protect Americans' data, it should pass comprehensive privacy legislation,” two dozen groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Democracy & Technology, Fight for the Future and Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University said last week in a letter sent to House leaders.

Next story loading loading..