Joe Rogan reads part of the Terms of Service
We collect certain information about the device you use to access the Platform, such as your IP address, user agent, mobile carrier, time zone settings, identifiers for advertising purposes, model of your device, the device system, network type, device IDs, your screen resolution and operating system, app and file names and types, keystroke patterns or rhythms, battery state, audio settings and connected audio devices. Where you log-in from multiple devices, we will be able to use your profile information to identify your activity across devices. We may also associate you with information collected from devices other than those you use to log-in to the Platform.”
Casey Fleming, CEO of intelligence and security strategy firm BlackOps Partners. He sheds light on the recent reports that TikTok can monitor keystrokes, what kind of information TikTok is getting, and what the Chinese regime can do with that.
Fleming said: “What people need to understand is that TikTok is a military application. It’s a weaponized espionage application to get every bit of information they possibly can off the phone, which they do—your whereabouts, how you go about your day, your access to other people, access to technology, intellectual property, and things that you can be blackmailed on, and so on. So people need to understand that TikTok is a weaponized military application in the hands of our middle schoolers, our kids, our high school kids, and our young adults.”
Get it off your phones, your family’s phone. Tell everyone.
United by China Threat, Democrats and Republicans Seek TikTok Ban
Democrats and Republicans have found common cause in an otherwise historically polarized Congress: Combating the threat from communist China, starting with an effort to ban social media giant TikTok from the United States.
Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), who chair and co-chair the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), reintroduced bipartisan legislation to ban TikTok from operating in the United States on Feb. 17.
The Averting the National Threat of Internet Surveillance, Oppressive Censorship and Influence, and Algorithmic Learning by the Chinese Communist Party Act (ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act) aims to protect Americans by blocking and prohibiting all transactions from TikTok and other social media companies in, or under the control of, China, Russia, or several other foreign countries of concern.
The move gives a rare bipartisan bite to legislation that might otherwise be pushed aside to the party politics so common to the otherwise divided Congress.
Gallagher said that the move and its bipartisan support was indicative of how serious the threat posed by companies with ties to the CCP was.
“Allowing the app to continue to operate in the U.S. would be like allowing the U.S.S.R. to buy up The New York Times, Washington Post, and major broadcast networks during the Cold War,” Gallagher said in a prepared statement.
“No country with even a passing interest in its own security would allow this to happen, which is why it’s time to ban TikTok and any other CCP-controlled app before it’s too late.”
Likewise, Krishnamoorthi said that adversaries like the CCP were attempting to actively undermine U.S. national security, and that such a threat required bipartisan pushback.
“At a time when the Chinese Communist Party and our other adversaries abroad are seeking any advantage they can find against the United States through espionage and mass surveillance, it is imperative that we do not allow hostile powers to potentially control social media networks that could be easily weaponized against us,” Krishnamoorthi said.
“The bipartisan ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act is a strong step in protecting our nation from the nefarious digital surveillance and influence operations of totalitarian regimes.”
CCP Aggression Earns Rare Bipartisan Rebuke
TikTok’s relationship with the CCP through its China-based parent company, ByteDance, has drawn widespread criticism and concern that the app is being used to actively stalk and feed disinformation to American citizens at the behest of the regime. Indeed, ByteDance employees were found to have illicitly used TikTok data to surveil American journalists critical of the regime, and TikTok executives have admitted to previously censoring stories about China’s human rights abuses at the regime’s request.
That threat, seemingly exacerbated by the invasion of U.S. territory by a Chinese spy balloon, has earned a significant bipartisan movement against the CCP and its malign activities.
Much like Gallagher and Krishnamoorthi, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Angus King (I-Maine) also came together to combat the threat, re-introducing the Senate companion to the ANTI-SOCIAL CCP legislation last week.
“TikTok allows the Chinese Communist Party to access people’s private data,” Rubio said in a prepared statement. “This is a direct threat not only to our national security interests but also to the American people.
“Make no mistake, every ‘private’ enterprise in China has direct ties and on-demand information-sharing requirements with the national government,” King said. “The Chinese Communist Party’s potential to access TikTok user data and exploit American’s private information is an unacceptable national security risk.
“The company must either divest from dangerous foreign ownership, or we will take the necessary steps to protect Americans from potential foreign spying and misinformation operations.”
Beyond TikTok, the move is indicative of a broader bipartisan impulse to push back on an increasingly belligerent CCP, perhaps captured best by the close working relationship of Gallagher and Krishnamoorthi as they lead the Select Committee on the CCP.
Gallagher previously expressed that he was “thrilled” to work side-by-side with such dedicated Democrats, and underscored that the ability of the committee to transcend partisan talking points and strike back against the CCP was central to the committee’s mission.
“Rep. Krishnamoorthi and I have a shared understanding of the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party and a long history of working together across the aisle on a range of issues — from protecting Americans from the threat posed by CCP controlled apps like TikTok and co-chairing the Middle-Class Jobs Caucus to introducing bipartisan infrastructure bills,” Gallagher said.
“As the leaders of the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, we will continue to work in bipartisan fashion to protect America from the ideological, economic, and military threat posed by the CCP, while always distinguishing between the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese people, who are their primary victims.”
“What the Chinese Communist Party fears most is Democrats and Republicans working together to combat their malign influence and defend our nation.”
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco warned against using TikTok on Thursday, saying that the “perils of Chinese companies being subject to Chinese national security laws” pose a threat to personal privacy and national security.
“Any company doing business in China, for that matter, is subject to China’s national security laws, which require turning over data to the state. There is a reason we need to be very concerned,” Monaco said during a policy discussion at the Chatham House in London.
“I don’t use TikTok and I would not advise anybody to do so because of these concerns.”
TikTok, an enormously popular social media platform owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has been in discussions with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) since 2019 about potentially separating the American side of its business.
TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter told Fox Business on Thursday that the company wants the CFIUS to accept Project Texas, which would involve granting U.S. officials some oversight of its algorithms.
“Project Texas puts U.S. user data out of reach of any foreign government,” Oberwetter said. “The swiftest and most thorough way to address national security concerns about TikTok is for CFIUS to adopt the proposed agreement that we worked with them on for nearly two years.”
While TikTok has been in discussion with U.S. officials, a bipartisan consensus has grown on Capitol Hill that TikTok should be outright banned.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Maine Sen. Angus King, an independent who causes with the Democrats, introduced a bill last week “to ban social media platforms like TikTok if they are owned, wholly or in part, by adversarial foreign regimes.”
“I think what’s changed is the level of Chinese government activity in the United States… They’re becoming more and more active. They’re stealing data from us every day,” King previously told Fox Business. “This is a bipartisan issue, and it’s a national security issue.”
Dozens of Republican and Democratic governors have also already banned TikTok on state-owned devices in recent months.
China Uncensored Reveals App More Dangerous Than TikTok – WeChat
TikTok is well known for being a spy tool of the Communist Chinese Party (CCP), but China Uncensored states that WeChat is even more dangerous.
Host Chris Chappell explains that TikTok is used as a data-collection tool for the CCP, and has also been used to track down journalists (I’d better not get it!)
Chappell shows that TikTok collects the following data (and much more): user device, IP address, mobile carrier, time zone setting, model of the user’s device, device system, network type, device IDs, screen resolution, operating system, app and file names and types, keystroke patterns or rhythms, battery state, audio settings, connected audio devices, faceprints and voicepings, media metadata, name, date of birth, phone number, email, etc.
So why is WeChat even more dangerous?
WeChat is an all-in-one app that allows users to do everything from order food to finding a date. Chappell explains that “WeChat is beholden to the Chinese Communist Party”. It also conducts real-time automatic censorship of citizens. Chappell explains, “Remember all the data that TikTok collects? Multiply that by a zillion and you get what WeChat collects. Nothing is off the table for WeChat.”
Once banned from WeChat, users are forced to write handwritten apologies to the government in order to get reinstated and be able to function in Chinese society normally again.