Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

10/28/2019
02:00 PM
50%
50%

US Lawmakers Fear Chinese-Owned TikTok Poses Security Risk

The popular video app has more than 110 million downloads in the United States and could give China access to users' personal data, they say.

US senators are calling for an assessment of risks posed by video app TikTok, citing concerns related to parent company ByteDance sharing users' data with the Chinese government.

TikTok is a hugely popular app that lets users create and share short videos set to music. It has more than 500 million users around the world and more than 110 million downloads in the US. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Senator Tom Cotton have submitted a letter to acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, suggesting the sheer size of TikTok's audience poses a security risk, given the amount of personal data it gathers from users.

Their letter indicates ByteDance may be forced to share data with Chinese officials or give Chinese intelligence a means of spying on TikTok users' smartphones. Senators emphasize the app could be a potential target of foreign influence campaigns, similar to those seen in the 2016 election, and say further action is needed to address the threats posed by China-owned firms.

ByteDance has published a statement confirming TikTok's US user data is stored in the United States, with backup residency in Singapore. It claims it "does not remove content based on sensitivities related to China" and it has "never been asked by the Chinese government to remove any content." It would not comply with such requests if they were made, TikTok says.

"We are not influenced by any foreign government, including the Chinese government; TikTok does not operate in China, nor do we have any intention of doing so in the future."

Senators note TikTok does not operate in China and stores US user data in the US; however, "ByteDance is still required to adhere to the laws of China," they write. "Questions have also been raised regarding the potential for censorship or manipulation of certain content." The app reportedly censors content considered politically sensitive to the Chinese Communist Party; for example, materials related to Hong Kong protests and references to Taiwanese independence.

Read the full letter here and TikTok's statement here.

 

This free, all-day online conference offers a look at the latest tools, strategies, and best practices for protecting your organization’s most sensitive data. Click for more information and, to register, here.

Dark Reading's Quick Hits delivers a brief synopsis and summary of the significance of breaking news events. For more information from the original source of the news item, please follow the link provided in this article. View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 8/3/2020
Pen Testers Who Got Arrested Doing Their Jobs Tell All
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  8/5/2020
New 'Nanodegree' Program Provides Hands-On Cybersecurity Training
Nicole Ferraro, Contributing Writer,  8/3/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
This special report takes a look at how enterprises are using threat intelligence, as well as emerging best practices for integrating threat intel into security operations and incident response. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15820
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-08
In JetBrains YouTrack before 2020.2.6881, the markdown parser could disclose hidden file existence.
CVE-2020-15821
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-08
In JetBrains YouTrack before 2020.2.6881, a user without permission is able to create an article draft.
CVE-2020-15823
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-08
JetBrains YouTrack before 2020.2.8873 is vulnerable to SSRF in the Workflow component.
CVE-2020-15824
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-08
In JetBrains Kotlin before 1.4.0, there is a script-cache privilege escalation vulnerability due to kotlin-main-kts cached scripts in the system temp directory, which is shared by all users by default.
CVE-2020-15825
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-08
In JetBrains TeamCity before 2020.1, users with the Modify Group permission can elevate other users' privileges.