TikTok CEO to face US Congress amid data privacy concerns

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Shou Zi Chew, Chief Executive Officer of ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, is set to face the United States Congress over data privacy concerns.

Chew will be grilled by American lawmakers on Thursday, as they consider a legislation that will enable President Joe Biden order a nationwide ban on the app, CBS News reports.

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce stated that the hearing will focus on TikTok’s “consumer privacy and data security practices, how the platform affects children, and its relationship with the Chinese Communist Party”.

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TikTok has come under heavy scrutiny in recent times over its ties with the Chinese government. Many western states, including the US have prohibited the use of the app on government owned devices.

In December last year, lawmakers of the US Senate introduced a bill to ban the use of the video sharing platform in the country.

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One of the bill’s sponsors, Republican Senator Marco Rubio of the Senate Intelligence Committee, stated that the app was not just about creating videos, but it serves as a major tool in the hands of the Chinese Government to obtain sensitive data from Americans.

Earlier in March, US National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, revealed that the White House had welcomed the bill which would empower the President to ban the app in the country.

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The bipartisan bill “would empower the United States government to prevent certain foreign governments from exploiting technology services… in a way that poses risks to Americans’ sensitive data and our national security,” Sullivan said.

Already, the US military, the State Department, and the Department of Homeland Security have all restricted the app from operating on their computer devices

Similarly, the European Commission, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, have ordered government workers to delete the application from their official devices.

Last week, a Wall Street Journal report revealed that the US government has also recently demanded that ByteDance sell its shares in the TikTok app, or face a national ban.

 

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