US regulator issues warning on data security amid TikTok hearing

FILE – The Department of the Treasury’s seal outside the Treasury Department building in Washington on May 4, 2021. The national debt is at the core of a dispute about how to raise the government’s legal borrowing authority, which could come to a head this summer if the government runs out of accounting maneuvers to keep paying its bills. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

A U.S. regulator issued a warning regarding data security during the TikTok congressional hearing Thursday, saying that it will not approve transactions that have “unresolved” national security concerns.

The Committee of Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), an interagency housed under the Treasury Department, said in a statement during TikTok CEO’s testimony that some transactions can “present data security” risks, Bloomberg reported. TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew was grilled by lawmakers on Thursday about the platform’s data security risks.

“In every case the committee reviews, however, CFIUS takes all necessary actions within its authority to safeguard national security and will not clear any transaction unless it determines there are no unresolved national security concerns,” the CFIUS statement read.

TikTok has been banned on government devices in numerous states and in Congress due to national security concerns with the app.

“Broadly speaking, some transactions can present data security risks — including providing a foreign person or government with access to troves of Americans’ sensitive personal data as well as access to intellectual property, source code, or other potentially sensitive information,” the statement continued.

The statement, which did not explicitly name TikTok, was a rare public notice issued by the committee, which noted that it does not comment on transactions. The statement comes after the Biden administration threatened to ban TikTok in the U.S. if the Chinese-owned parent company did not sell its stake in the platform.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that the CFIUS made the push for the parent company ByteDance to sell its stake at the time. China said Thursday that it would “resolutely oppose” a forced sale of TikTok by ByteDance.

“CFIUS, on a case-by-case basis, will ensure the protection of national security, including to prevent the misuse of data through espionage, tracking, and other means that threaten national security,” the statement concluded, according to Bloomberg.

The Hill has reached out to the Treasury Department to confirm the statement.

Tags CFIUS Shou Zi Chew TikTok ban Treasury Department

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