Spanberger Statement on “Disturbing” Reports of Planned Unauthorized Surveillance of U.S. Citizens by TikTok Parent Company

In 2020, the U.S. House Passed the Congresswoman’s Legislation to Ban TikTok on TSA Phones & Block Potential Surveillance from Chinese Military and Intelligence Services

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger — a former CIA case officer — today released the following statement in response to a new report from Forbes indicating that Chinese video app “TikTok’s” parent company — ByteDance — “planned to use the TikTok app to monitor the personal location of some specific American citizens… without their knowledge or consent.”

“As a Chinese-owned company, TikTok is required by law to comply with information requests from the Chinese Communist Party. This report reveals a concerted effort to breach the privacy of American citizens, and our government’s alarm bells need to be going off,” said Spanberger. “As a nation, we cannot afford to ease our vigilance against operations potentially originating from the Chinese Communist Party and the companies that are forced to answer to it. Protecting the data of the American people is a national security priority, and the leadership of TikTok and ByteDance need to present more answers to Congress about the nature of this operation, any new safeguards to protect U.S. consumers, and why this disturbing plan existed in the first place. As a former intelligence officer, I remain concerned about the use of the TikTok app, particularly on government-issued devices — and this report does nothing to assuage my concerns or the concerns of families across the country.”

Spanberger has long focused on protecting U.S. citizens and companies from surveillance threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party — including through TikTok. In March 2020, a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House passed her legislation to ban TikTok on Transportation Security Administration (TSA) phones.

And in March 2020, former President Donald Trump signed into law Spanberger’s bipartisan legislation — the Secure 5G and Beyond Act — to protect the integrity of telecommunications networks here in the United States from foreign-based threats, including from Huawei and its 5G networks.


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