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TikTok CEO to testify before Congress in March amid app security questions

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TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will seem earlier than Congress in March to discipline questions in regards to the viral video app’s safety measures amid mounting efforts to ban it due to privateness considerations.

Chew will seem at a March 23 listening to of the Home Power and Commerce Committee in his first time testifying earlier than Congress, the committee stated Monday. Lawmakers will query him on TikTok’s shopper privateness and information safety practices, the platform’s impact on kids, and the app’s relationship with the Chinese language Communist Celebration, committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., introduced in an announcement.

Shou Zi Chew during the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore
Shou Zi Chew on the Bloomberg New Financial system Discussion board in Singapore on Nov. 16. Bryan van der Beek / Bloomberg through Getty Photos file

TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese language firm ByteDance, has come underneath elevated scrutiny after media reports confirmed potential safety breaches. Final month, President Joe Biden signed legislation banning TikTok on authorities gadgets. A number of lawmakers are supporting laws to ban the app from the U.S. solely.

“Large Tech has more and more develop into a damaging drive in American society,” McMorris Rodgers stated in her assertion. “ByteDance-owned TikTok has knowingly allowed the flexibility for the Chinese language Communist Celebration to entry American consumer information. Individuals should understand how these actions affect their privateness and information safety, in addition to what actions TikTok is taking to maintain our youngsters protected from on-line and offline harms.”

The ban Biden accredited, which was wrapped into the omnibus spending invoice, included restricted exceptions for regulation enforcement, nationwide safety and safety analysis functions. It doesn’t apply to members of Congress and their staffs, although members of the Home have been prohibited from downloading the app on government-issued cell phones.

TikTok criticized the ban in an announcement, arguing that the prohibition was “a political gesture that may do nothing to advance nationwide safety pursuits.”

Chris Meserole, director of analysis on the Brookings Establishment’s Synthetic Intelligence and Rising Know-how Initiative, famous that American-owned social media firms are accountable to the U.S. authorities in the event that they abuse customers’ information. TikTok, in contrast, is owned by a Chinese language agency that’s accountable to the Chinese language Communist Celebration, he stated.

“What occurs to your information, if it does leak out of the U.S., is form of past the flexibility of the U.S. authorities to manage or to affect,” he stated in an interview with NBC Information.

Final month, underneath criticism from lawmakers and regulators, the corporate created a new U.S.-based team for belief and issues of safety.

Nonetheless, China hawks in Congress have tried to rein within the viral video app’s energy. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., launched laws final week to ban the social media app within the U.S.

In a tweet, Hawley stated that TikTok is “China’s backdoor into Individuals’ lives,” including: “It threatens our kids’s privateness in addition to their psychological well being. Final month Congress banned it on all authorities gadgets. Now I’ll introduce laws to ban it nationwide.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., final month launched a Senate invoice to ban TikTok within the U.S. A companion measure was launched within the Home by Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., and Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ailing.

Meserole stated TikTok poses a knowledge privateness concern for common residents, not simply authorities staff.

“It’s not at all times clear who would have the ability to present helpful info to an intelligence service,” he stated. “I feel what they’re seeking to do is hoover up all the knowledge in case they should discover a needle in a haystack later.”

Quite a few states have already banned the social media app on state telephones and computer systems. A few of the state restrictions transcend authorities gadgets to ban TikTok for anybody utilizing campus Wi-Fi at state schools, together with the College of Oklahoma and Auburn College in Alabama — a part of the app’s foremost consumer base within the U.S.

Supply: www.nbcnews.com

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