Roanoke cybersecurity expert discusses TikTok risks, possible China data access investigation

Roanoke cybersecurity expert discusses TikTok risks, possible China data access investigation


(WFXR) – U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.) And Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) Are calling for an investigation into TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, after reports surfaced that executives and engineers at the WFXR social networking platform in China can access the private data of American users.

The senators pushed the action in a letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) chairwoman Lina Khan:

We write in response to public reports that people in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have accessed U.S. user data, in violation of various public representations, including sworn testimony in October 2021. In an interview with the U.S. Cyberscoop’s online publication, The Global Security Director of TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, made a series of public statements about TikTok’s data security practices, including unequivocal claims that data from U.S. users they are accessible to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Chinese government. RPC. As you know, TikTok’s privacy practices are already subject to a consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission, based on its improper collection and processing of children’s personal information. In light of this new report, we call on your agency to immediately initiate a Section 5 investigation on the basis of an apparent TikTok hoax and coordinate this work with any national security or counterintelligence investigation that may initiate the US Department of Justice. .

Part of the letter written to FTC President Lina Khan by US Senators Mark Warner and Marco Rubio

If you want to read the full letter from senators to Khan, click here.

As chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Warner and Rubio have spoken in the past about cyber threats and national security posed by the Chinese Communist Party, which partially owns a subsidiary of the Chinese Communist Party. TikTok’s parent company, according to officials.

“Politically, if you have two parties coming together to investigate something, that should tell you one thing in general: that’s important, and both have been pushing for it since 2019,” said Mary Hamilton, CEO of Mad Data IO. a cybersecurity company in Roanoke.

Hamilton knows all about other countries trying to get personal information from Americans. He says they have been collecting user data as well as biometric data for a few years.

“TikTok may transmit your data to its servers or data centers outside the United States for storage and / or processing. Third parties with whom TikTok may share your data as described herein may be located outside of the United States. United States”.

TikTok legal policies

According to Hamilton, anyone who uses TikTok runs the risk of giving extremely personal data.

“They receive your user history, your browser history … they will record information about keystrokes, that is, the passwords you enter, whatever you are looking for, usernames; they’re saving text and images to the app’s clipboard, ”Hamilton explained.

Because TikTok is a video app, the CEO of Mad Data IO says it can even save your videos and your face, which can do a lot of harm.

“They can definitely arm this. Our main attacks come from Russia and China,” he said. “These are the main threat actors that are attacking us as small businesses. A lot of people don’t see the weight of that.”

Hamilton says this is a personal choice. If you feel comfortable with other countries having your information, that’s fine.

For Hamilton, however, he says he has never had the app and none of his five children have it either.

If you still want to enjoy scrolling through videos on social media, the Roanoke cybersecurity expert recommends using the American Instagram app instead of TikTok.



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