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TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew Addresses US Lawmakers Over Security Concerns & Legacy Data

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During a hearing at the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew faced questioning from US lawmakers over concerns about the video-sharing app’s alleged links to China and potential risks to teenagers.

Chew assured lawmakers that TikTok had taken “real action” over the past two years to address concerns about unwanted foreign access to US data, and announced that “legacy” US data would be deleted this year from servers located in Virginia and Singapore. Chew added that all protected US data would be under the protection of US law and control of a US-led security team.

The hearing comes as TikTok seeks to avoid being banned in the US and to satisfy national security concerns with its “Project Texas” plan. However, lawmakers continue to demand that the app end its ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

Experts believe that in case the US lawmakers decide to embargo TikTok in the country, the most likely route for enforcing a government ban would be to order app stores, such as those operated by Apple and Google, to remove TikTok from their platforms.

That would mean people could no longer download the app that way, but those who already have the app would still have it on their phones. Over time, the app would stop receiving updates, which could cause issues for users.

It is notable here that following a ban on government devices, Britain’s parliament has decided to block TikTok on all devices on its network, citing security concerns. The move makes Britain the latest Western institution to prohibit the Chinese-owned video app. Last week, the British government had already banned the app on government phones. Other countries such as the United States, Canada, Belgium, and the European Commission have already banned TikTok on official devices.

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