Why does US see Chineseowned TikTok as a security threat?

News Summary

  • Publicly traded Chinese tech companies and privately held ones like ByteDance have plunged in value since the ruling Communist Party tightened control over the industry with anti-monopoly and data security crackdowns.Western governments worry Chinese authorities could force ByteDance to hand over TikTok data on American users, exposing sensitive information.
  • ByteDance disclosed in December that four employees gained access to data about reporters and people connected to them while looking for how information about the company was leaked.
  • It’s similar to TikTok, but its content is restricted by Chinese censorship rules that prohibit material deemed subversive or pornographic - a point emphasized by U.S. lawmakers worried about harmful content viewed by young people.
  • Since ByteDance, which owns TikTok, is a Chinese company, it would likely have to abide by these rules if Chinese authorities asked it to turn over data.Laws and regulations are only one aspect of the Communist Party’s pervasive control.
  • The authorities also can threaten to cancel licenses, conduct regulatory or tax investigations and use other penalties to compel compliance by Chinese and foreign companies operating in China.
  • China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law states that “any organization” must assist or cooperate with state intelligence work while a separate 2014 Counter-Espionage Law says “relevant organizations ... may not refuse” to collect evidence for an investigation.
By JOE McDONALD and ZEN SOO AP Business WritersBEIJING (AP) U.S. lawmakers have grilled TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew about data security and harmful content, with some pushing to ban the popular short [+6823 chars]