SAN FRANCISCO: Leaders of the US Senate Intelli­gence Committee on Tuesday called for a probe into whether Chinese officials are getting access to data about US users of video-snippet sharing sensation TikTok.

In a letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) chairwoman Lina Khan, the senators urged her to scrutinise how well TikTok safeguards private data.

“We write in response to public reports that individuals in the People’s Republic of China have been accessing data on US users, in contravention of several public representations,” the letter said.

TikTok has consistently defended itself against such accusations, saying it gives no data about US users to the Chinese government despite its parent company, ByteDance, being based in China.

“We’ve talked openly about our work to limit access to user data across regions, and in our letter to senators last week we were clear about our progress in limiting access even further through our work with Oracle,” a TikTok spokesperson said in response to an AFP inquiry.

“As we’ve said repeatedly, TikTok has never shared US user data with the Chinese government, nor would we if asked.” In response to earlier inquiries from US authorities, TikTok had indicated in mid-June that all of its data on US-based users were now stored on US-based servers operated by US company Oracle.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2022

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