As the Associated Press reported, while speaking at the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, FBI Director Christopher Wray expressed concern that TikTok is a threat to national security and warned that a government controls the application with “values different from our own”.
Chinese tech company ByteDance owns TikTok, which has raised concerns in the US that China could use the app to collect data about its users and can then use this data for traditional spying operations.
At the House Homeland Security Committee hearing, Wray expressed concern, stating that TikTok is a threat and that the Chinese Communist Party can use the app for influence through TikTok’s powerful recommendation algorithm.
“All of these things are in the hands of a government that does not share our values and that has a mission that is very at odds with what is in the best interests of the United States,” Wray said in a speech at the University of Michigan on Friday. . He also added: “That should worry us.”
How can the Chinese government access TikTok user data?
China’s national security laws require private companies operating in the country to provide your data to the government if requested. Thus, the Chinese government can access the data that TikTok collects, such as how you consume its content, from the device you’re using to how long you watch a post and which categories you like.
“The Chinese government has shown a willingness to steal Americans’ data on a scale that dwarfs any other,” Wray said. He added that Americans should be very concerned about giving China “that ability to shape content,” “engage in influence operations,” and “access to people’s devices.”
In recent news, more than a dozen separate statements from nine different TikTok employees showed that engineers in China had access to US data from at least September 2021 to January 2022. TikTok’s COO, Vanessa Pappas, denied any allegations and testified at a Senate hearing that the company does not store US data in China.