The head of the US Cyber Command and National Security Agency expressed concern about TikTok, telling lawmakers Thursday that the US needs policies to prevent foreign powers from using tech platforms to spy on Americans.
Army General Paul Nakasone told the House Armed Services Committee that he views China-based TikTok as a different type of data security threat than US social media companies.
“When you consider that a third of the adult population gets their messages through this app, a sixth of our children say they use this app all the time, considering there are 150 million people who obviously come into contact with it every day App, this provides a foreign nation with a platform for information operations, a platform for surveillance, and a concern we have about who controls that data,” Gen Nakasone said at Thursday’s hearing.
US politicians have said that TikTok’s China-based parent company ByteDance poses a national security risk as China forces companies to cooperate with the communist government.
TikTok has attempted to restructure its US operations to shield American data from China, but US officials have not been convinced TikTok’s plan will work.
President Biden signed legislation last year to remove TikTok from government devices, and his administration last month issued directives to federal agencies directing them to take down the app.
Mr. Biden has yet to decide publicly whether to pursue a broader ban on TikTok as his administration continued a national security review of the platform begun under the Trump administration.
Amid growing support in Congress for new restrictions on TikTok, top cyber officials in the Biden administration have told Congress they have concerns about the platform.
For example, the agency’s director of cybersecurity and infrastructure security, Jen Easterly, told lawmakers on Tuesday that she supports a total ban on TikTok, raising concerns about how China could use the platform to influence elections.
Gen. Nakasone on Thursday stopped calling for a nationwide ban but told lawmakers the US needs a policy to target other technology platforms that enable surveillance of hostile foreign powers.
“There will be more uses like this, and we need to have some sort of policy in place that both protects our ability to see materials and protects us from an adversary’s ability to conduct surveillance and intelligence operations against us,” he said.
Lawmakers are discussing several proposals to restrict TikTok’s operations. Senator Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, tried Wednesday night to push legislation that would impose a statewide ban on the app, but his efforts were stopped by Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky.
TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
Source : www.washingtontimes.com