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Senators seek update on U.S. security review of TikTok

Reuters, June 24, Washington Six Republican senators questioned U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Friday on a Biden administration review of TikTok’s national security posture.

Because of concerns that U.S. user data might be given to China’s communist government, the U.S. government’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which evaluates deals by foreign acquirers for potential national security risks, ordered Chinese parent company ByteDance to divest TikTok in 2020.

In an effort to allay American worries about data integrity, TikTok announced last week that the migration of user data for its American users to servers at Oracle Corp (ORCL.N) was complete.

The government “appears to have done nothing to implement” the August 2020 divestiture order, according to several inquiries from Senators Tom Cotton, Ben Sasse, Mike Braun, Marco Rubio, Todd Young, and Roger Wicker Yellen. The results of the security reviews, they added, “have also not been made publicly available after one year.”

Will TikTok be locally managed in the United States, are the senators’ questions. and “Will the U.S. government be able to routinely access and examine the source code of the algorithm?” What guarantees does the U.S. government have that TikTok will store American data and adopt privacy standards with sufficient safeguards? is another question raised?

An inquiry for comment from TikTok did not immediately receive a response.

Former President Donald Trump lost a number of legal challenges in his attempts to prevent new users from downloading WeChat and TikTok and to forbid other transactions that would have effectively prevented the usage of the apps in the United States.

In June 2021, President Joe Biden revoked a number of Trump executive orders that tried to prohibit new downloads of the applications and mandated that the Commerce Department evaluate any security risks posed by the apps.

According to the senators, TikTok’s plan to keep user data without granting ByteDance access “would do little to solve the underlying security issues.”

According to insiders, CFIUS and TikTok have had extensive discussions over security vulnerabilities. A Yellen spokesperson declined to comment on Friday.

One of the most widely used social media platforms in the world, TikTok has more than 1 billion active members worldwide and the United States is its biggest market.

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