TikTok is having a difficult time proving it isn’t spyware
In context: The United States government has shown great skepticism of Chinese firms, particularly when it comes to technology. Secretary Pompeo’s remarks highlight the ongoing tension between the U.S. and China. A TikTok ban in the U.S. could significantly hinder the social network’s growth despite its insistence that it doesn’t cooperate with the Chinese government.
In an interview with Fox News (via Reuters), Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States is considering banning Chinese social media apps, including the uber-popular TikTok. Pompeo’s statement comes as TikTok continues to face increased scrutiny over alleged ties to the Chinese government.
The U.S. government has been increasingly worried that Chinese-made apps like TikTok and tech companies like ZTE and Huawei, are points of intelligence gathering used by China.
India has shown similar national security concerns, going as far as to ban 59 Chinese-made apps including TikTok.
In response to Pompeo’s remarks, a TikTok spokesman told CNBC: “TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”
TikTok has reiterated that data from United States users are stored in the U.S. with backup servers in Singapore. They also claim all data centers are outside of China and aren’t subject to Chinese law.
“We are taking this very seriously. We are certainly looking at it,” Pompeo said. “With respect to Chinese apps on peoples’ cell phones, the United States will get this one right, too.”