Home Sen. Warner: TikTok a ‘huge national security threat’ that FTC needs to investigate

Sen. Warner: TikTok a ‘huge national security threat’ that FTC needs to investigate

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Sen. Mark Warner and Sen. Marco Rubio have sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission calling for an investigation into the security risk of TikTok.

He shared information about the risk in a call with local media Thursday morning.

“Literally, hundreds of millions of Americans use TikTok, disproportionately young people,” Warner said of the security risk’s possible reach. “TikTok is a company that is controlled by a Chinese parent, a company named ByteDance.”

By Chinese law, Chinese companies must share data with the Communist Party. “It is a huge national security threat,” Warner said. He gives then President Donald Trump credit for raising concerns about TikTok a few years ago.

He added that TikTok gathers biometric data of users, and evidence suggests that Chinese engineers in 2020 had access to this data. The FTC “needs to initiate an investigation into deceptive practices taken place by TikTok.”

“TikTok ought to get its so-called ‘day in court,’” Warner said.

However, this situation “raises a host of concerns that I have about Chinese tech companies, pervasive sucking up of data.” This is a reminder that the United States does not have a national data privacy law.

“I would have a great deal of caution about TikTok at this point. I would not have TikTok on any of my devices,” Warner said.

Warner said China was involved in the hack of Equifax a few years ago when hundreds of millions of American’s personal data was obtained. He thinks China is a threat with TikTok.

“The problem is you have your privacy penetrated and potentially even in a way that you could be threatened or in effect somebody have some ability to put you in a compromising position,” Warner said. In a future with artificial intelligence, the countries with the most data “will be the most successful.”

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.