On Tuesday, F.B.I. Director Christopher Wray expressed his “grave worry” about TikTok’s activities in the United States to Congress.
During a hearing on global threats, Wray told members of the House Homeland Security Committee, “We do have national security concerns at least from the FBI’s end regarding TikTok.”
Among them is the potential for the Chinese government to exert centralized control over the personal information of hundreds of millions of people. may have influence on the algorithm used to make recommendations, which might be used for covert or overt influence activities. Or to exert influence on the software of a large number of devices, which might lead to the compromising of sensitive data on individual devices.
Wray’s comments add to the growing body of criticism directed at the Chinese-owned video platform, which has been voiced by both government officials and members of Congress. TikTok has insisted that it does not save data on its American users in China, where the government may legally compel businesses to give over confidential information.
Wray said that “enough of cause by itself to be highly worried” was provided by the statute.
The FBI’s feedback is being evaluated as part of our continuing conversations with the U.S. Government, as Director Wray mentioned in his comments, a TikTok spokeswoman said in a statement. We are convinced that we are on a road to completely satisfy any legitimate U.S. national security concerns; nevertheless, we are unable to comment on the contents of those classified negotiations.
However, Forbes has reported that users in the United States may not feel safe using TikTok because of security concerns. The news organization said, based on documents it obtained, that TikTok’s parent firm, ByteDance, intended to use the app to track the whereabouts of particular U.S. people. TikTok responded to the news by denying that it has ever monitored the precise whereabouts of individual U.S. residents and criticizing Forbes for publicizing the accusations.
Wray said that a secret briefing would be required to share any information on TikTok’s behavior. Nonetheless, he reassured legislators that “it is clearly something that is on our radar and we share your worries.”
The New York Times reports that the Biden administration has been negotiating with the firm to ensure that it may continue operations in the United States under tighter security safeguards. Wray said that the FBI’s international division was collaborating with the DOJ to find a workable solution as part of the agency’s foreign investment review. His words: “any agreements reached to resolve the matter will take into consideration the FBI’s involvement.”