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House committee considers TikTok’s data security

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testifies during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, on the platform's consumer privacy and data security practices and impact on children, Thursday, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Associated Press/Photo by Jacquelyn Martin

House committee considers TikTok’s data security

The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce heard testimony Thursday from TikTok’s CEO Shou Chew on whether the app is a security risk for the U.S. Committee members accused the Chinese-owned company of siphoning data from American users and sending it to China. According to committee chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., the Department of Justice is reviewing ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, for allegedly watching American journalists’ physical movements via the app.

What did Chew say? TikTok plans to move all U.S. users’ data to domestic servers, Chew said. The data would be owned and managed by the U.S.-based company Oracle. The potential security, privacy, and content manipulation concerns the committee brought up are not unique to TikTok, Chew said. Chinese entrepreneurs founded ByteDance in 2012, and the majority of the company is now owned by global institutional investors. ByteDance employees own 20 percent of the company and its founder, Zhang Yiming, owns the other 20 percent.

Dig deeper: Read Jordan J. Ballor’s column in WORLD Opinions on why we should be wary of using government power to single out individuals and specific entities.

Mary Muncy

Mary Muncy is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. She graduated from World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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