The US Federal Trade Commission, together with the Justice Ministry, is considering the possibility of accusing ByteDance, the owner of the Chinese TikTok application, of violating the data privacy law for users under 14 years of age. Service may be blocked in the country.
According to Reuters sources, officials have repeatedly discussed this issue.
A service representative said in response that TikTok “takes the security of all users seriously,” and in the US “users under 13 years of age are provided with limited functions, which allows for additional security measures and protection of confidential data designed specifically for a young audience.”
Meanwhile, on June 6, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo confirmed the ability to block the work of TikTok and other Chinese social networks in the country. He recalled that Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE have already been recognized as a threat to US national security.
Later on this topic was expressed by US Vice President Mike Pence. He confirmed that the US administration will take a tough approach to regulating the activities of Chinese high-tech companies. He recalled the words of President Donald Trump, who said that the White House would protect US interests from “compromising by the Chinese Communist Party.”
“Thus, in relation to those structures, whether Huawei and possibly even TikTok, which pose a threat to the privacy and security of the country, we will continue to take a firm position,” Pence said.
Finally, Trump himself confirmed Pompeo’s words about the possibility of blocking. “Yes, we are considering this,” he said in an interview with Gray Television. Trump explained that this is one of many answers to the situation with the spread of coronavirus: “This is big business. Listen, what happened to China and this virus and what they did to this country and to the whole world is outrageous. ”
ByteDance is also in the United States under the watchful eye of the Foreign Investment Committee. The company is checked for a deal with a purchase for almost $ 1 billion of the competing service Musical.ly. The deal was closed back in 2017, but was not approved by the authorities. The IPO of the Chinese company was in doubt. Media reported that the owners of TikTok hoped to reach an agreement with the US authorities.
The Australian government is also facing calls to ban TikTok as a threat to national security. More than 1.6 million Australians are registered in it, and the Senate fears that China may use this user data.
The authorities have already sent TikTok a request for cooperation in the study of the platform’s activities in the country.
In June, the Indian government also regarded TikTok as a potentially dangerous application that “too freely handles user confidential data”, including due to reading the clipboard. Service banned in the country. ByteDance announced that it will release an iOS application update in which TikTok will cease to constantly copy and analyze data from the clipboard.