After it emerged that the Joe Biden government asked the Chinese owners of TikTok to sell the application or it would ban it in the United States due to national security concerns, the stalking of the popular platform is heightened amid tension between the two countries.
The Department of Justice is investigating the owners of TikTok for possible surveillance of US citizens, including several journalists who cover technological information, according to ‘The New York Times’ this Friday, from various sources. Forbes magazine was the first to advance this case.
The investigation would have been opened last year and appears to be linked to the admission by ByteDance, the company that owns it, that the app’s employees had improperly obtained TikTok user data. The criminal investigation division, the FBI and the prosecutor responsible for the eastern district of Virginia are the ones who would be carrying out the investigations of the company with headquarters in Beijing and with close relations with the Chinese executive.
This investigation would confirm Washington’s fear and its decision to take a tough stance on the company to address national security concerns. One of the suspicions is that the Xi Jiping executive may use the service of the popular video service, with more than 100 million users in the US alone, to spy on Americans, undermine democratic institutions and foster Internet addictions. among the young.
It was the same platform that communicated that the Biden administration, recovering the position of its predecessor, had placed the sword of Damocles over their heads. Either sale or national ban. A similar situation is taking place in several European countries, although not so radical for now.
The Forbes journalist who revealed the investigation assured that she was one of those spied on by the company. ByteDance employees involved in the operation, later fired, tried to find the source of the leaks of internal conversations and documents that reached the journalist. Thus, they managed to access the IP address and other data of the reporter and of people linked to her Tiktok account.
Two of those employees were located in China. The company noted that they had made changes to prevent leaks. But calls for reassurance on the platform have had little success in calming the growing demand from politicians in their bid to block use of the app. Biden has shown his support for that petition, which is now being prepared in Congress.
Jake Sullivan, national security adviser, praised the bill put forward by a dozen senators from both parties. “This law would strengthen our ability to address the discrete risk posed by individual transactions and systemic risks developed by certain classes of transactions involving countries of interest in sensitive technology sectors,” Sullivan remarked.
The president of TikTok, Shou Zi Chew, is scheduled to appear next in a commission of the US Congress. But in statements published this Friday by ‘The Wall Street Journal’, Chew stressed that the sale will not solve the problem of the Data Protection.
Lisa Monaco, deputy chief of the Justice Department, and other senior officials have repeatedly cited Chinese security laws, which require them to hand over customer data if required, fueling concerns of misuse of that information.
“Our intelligence community is very clear about China’s efforts and its intent to shape the use of technology to collect data in a world that is completely inconsistent with our own,” Monaco said.