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House Intel Panel Chairman Says TikTok Ban or Sale Looks Inevitable

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner, when asked by CBS News whether banning TikTok in the US was inevitable, said, “Yes;” answered He also said that the company’s chief executive’s assurances that American user data is segregated from Chinese authorities are “unbelievable.” But Turner suggested that the sale of the company could alleviate national security concerns.

Turner said in an interview that he doesn’t believe the social media company “can continue to operate as it is for the long term.”

The Ohio Republican’s comments followed testimony Thursday from TikTok Chief Executive Shou Ji-Chiu, who was grilled by members of both sides of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

“What we do know is that companies that are controlled by China are, of course, controlled by the Chinese Communist Party,” Turner said. “There is no separation between government and commerce in our country. This is really something that everyone should be concerned about because every time they download the TikTok app, they are surrendering access to data and information that can go directly into the hands of the Communist Party of China.”

Turner, a member of the Congressional Gang of Eight, which has been briefed on the most sensitive government intelligence, predicted big changes for the app, which has 150 million US users.

He said splitting up — or selling the company — could address his national security concerns, but it would depend on the structure and details.

“I believe that an isolation, a ban, something has to happen to address this issue because it’s too much of a safety concern,” Turner said. “You see governments using the TikTok app on their government equipment just outside of our own restrictions. This is because, they themselves have come to the conclusion that this app represents a security threat to their nation and their nation,” the data said. Individuals should come to the same conclusion that it is a risk to them too.”

When asked how much American user data was harmed by TikTok, Turner said, “It’s more of a vulnerability than a harm. But I think there’s a growing harm that we have to be concerned about that certainly has national security implications.”

Turner added that in his mind, there was no separation between TikTok and the Chinese Communist Party.

Technical Security and Privacy

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Kathryn Herridge

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