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TikTok Refused to Commit to U.S. Demand to Block User Data Flowing to China

Taiwanese news site NewTalk recently reported that, at the Homeland Security Committee Senate hearing a few days ago, when confronted by US senators, TikTok Chief Operating Officer Vanessa Pappas refused to promise to prevent the flow of U.S. user data to China. Pappas only said the company will work with the U.S. government on an agreement that will “address all national security concerns.” When asked if the company would completely block access to all U.S. data by “Chinese TikTok employees, employees of parent company ByteDance, or any other Chinese person with the ability to access information about U.S. users,” Pappas was reluctant to commit. TikTok is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance and its founder is Chinese. Under China’s National Security Law and its Intelligence Law, the Beijing government can compel companies to provide intelligence agencies with customer information. In June of this year, online news BuzzFeed pointed out, based on leaked meeting recordings, that ByteDance’s Chinese employees had repeatedly accessed TikTok’s US user data. TikTok later admitted that ByteDance employees could, under certain circumstances, have access to the data of U.S. users.

Source: NewTalk, September 16, 2022