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

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Data Leak Week: Billions of Sensitive Files Exposed Online
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/10/2019
Lessons from the NSA: Know Your Assets
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  12/12/2019
4 Tips to Run Fast in the Face of Digital Transformation
Shane Buckley, President & Chief Operating Officer, Gigamon,  12/9/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-19807
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-15
In the Linux kernel before 5.3.11, sound/core/timer.c has a use-after-free caused by erroneous code refactoring, aka CID-e7af6307a8a5. This is related to snd_timer_open and snd_timer_close_locked. The timeri variable was originally intended to be for a newly created timer instance, but was used for ...
CVE-2014-8650
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-15
python-requests-Kerberos through 0.5 does not handle mutual authentication
CVE-2014-3536
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-15
CFME (CloudForms Management Engine) 5: RHN account information is logged to top_output.log during registration
CVE-2014-3643
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-15
jersey: XXE via parameter entities not disabled by the jersey SAX parser
CVE-2014-3652
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-15
JBoss KeyCloak: Open redirect vulnerability via failure to validate the redirect URL.