It’s Official: TikTok Is ChiCom Spyware
The Chinese-owned parent company of the wildly addictive entertainment app has fessed up to spying on American citizens and is now under federal investigation.
Perhaps there’s a person somewhere in these United States who’s surprised to learn that the Communist Chinese company that owns TikTok is being investigated by the Department of Justice for having spied on American citizens.
Perhaps. Somewhere. But we doubt it.
The news broke Friday that the DOJ’s criminal division and the FBI, along with the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, have begun a probe of ByteDance, the Beijing-based and ChiCom-connected company that owns TikTok.
The feds must’ve had the goods on them, because the lying, thieving ChiComs apparently acknowledged in December that its ByteDance employees had been caught conducting electronic surveillance of tech-industry journalists from Forbes magazine. One of those journalists, Emily Baker-White, said the app’s owner used her TikTok account to track her location in an attempt to determine who her sources were.
No doubt tired of waiting for the beholden Biden administration to do the right thing, a number of states have already banned TikTok. One of them, Indiana, as we reported in December, has filed a pair of lawsuits against the app whose highly addictive, stunningly effective, culture-shifting algorithm has hooked approximately one-fourth of all U.S. teens to the point where they admit to being on it “almost constantly.”
The lesson: Never send a weak-kneed Democrat administration to do a conservative state attorney general’s job.
In addition, Washington Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, announced that TikTok’s CEO, Shou Chew, will appear before her committee this Thursday for a hearing titled “TikTok: How Congress Can Safeguard American Data Privacy and Protect Children from Online Harms.”
We think this is too little, too late. If Congress wants to “safeguard American data privacy and protect children,” we have a suggestion: ban it already.
The calls for banning TikTok, though, are no longer coming only from those on the Right. Virginia Democrat Senator Mark Warner said recently the app needs to be banned as a matter of national security. “Literally 100 million Americans are on TikTok an average of 90 minutes a day,” he said. “That data is residing in China no matter what TikTok says, and the truth is TikTok can be used as a propaganda mechanism for the Communist Party of China.”
Indeed, Warner, who chairs the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and ranking Republican John Thune introduced bipartisan legislation earlier this month that would allow the U.S. to ban the app.
Furthermore, two former Biden administration officials, Peter Harrell and Tim Wu, call on the federal government to take a more active role in safeguarding the data of the American people from the ChiComs and other foreign interests. As they write in a New York Times op-ed:
Opponents of an aggressive data security law will argue that the United States, as an open and democratic country, ought to refrain from limiting the access of foreign-owned companies to its markets. Others worry that such a law would encourage countries like France and India, already skeptical of U.S. tech companies, to use the American example as a reason to impose increased restrictions on American companies.
These criticisms are misplaced. Being an open and democratic country does not mean being a sucker. Accepting unequal treatment is not a badge of honor. The United States would be justified in responding to China’s limits on U.S. companies by imposing its own limits.
As we noted a few weeks ago, former Trump CIA Director and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said much the same thing about China. When asked what he thinks the next administration should do to confront the lying, thieving commies, he said we should do unto them as they do to us:
I’ll do it in one word: reciprocity. If the Chinese can buy land near our military facilities, we should be able to buy land near their military facilities. … If they can use propaganda on the telephones of our children, we should be able to put our propaganda on the phones of their children. … The theory of the case is, we’ve let them have one set of rules, and we’ve bent the knee and kowtowed to them and had an entirely different set of rules, and that can’t continue.
So, think “reciprocity” across economic, military, commercial, education, research, diplomacy — if you get all of those things reciprocal, we’ll be in a pretty darn good place. It’ll be a dog fight. It will not be linear. It will not be easy. There will be real costs. But in the end, we will crush the Chinese Communist Party just as we did the Soviets.
Why, then, haven’t we banned this addictive and highly influential ChiCom spyware yet, when Donald Trump issued an executive order on August 6, 2020, doing just that?
Answer: Because on June 9, 2021, Joe Biden rescinded that executive order, and he replaced it with a far more accommodating, far more mealy-mouthed one. As the Washington Examiner reported at the time, “Biden’s Commerce Department will conduct its own review of the apps to evaluate whether they are credible foreign threats ‘and take action, as appropriate,’ according to a White House fact sheet.”
We wonder: When does the Biden administration think it might be “appropriate” to “take action”? Perhaps now that we have a strong bipartisan majority in Congress that favors banning TikTok? Perhaps now that the feds are investigating TikTok for spying on the American people?
Talk about putting America last. If we didn’t know better, we’d swear the ChiComs have this guy in their pocket.
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