Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, who heads the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, offered rare praise to Trump, whose 2020 bid to ban the app was blocked by a federal court. Trump then tried to force the CCP-controlled company ByteDance to relinquish its ability to access U.S. users’ data, but the Biden administration shelved that plan last year.
“This is not something you would normally hear me say, but Donald Trump was right on TikTok years ago,” Warner said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Warner, during a visit to fellow “Five Eyes” country Australia to meet with intel officials, political leaders, and business people, said the U.S. military bars service members from downloading TikTok’s app. Parents should be worried about the addictive platform being used by China to harvest data on their children, he said.
Warner listed the 1 billion-active-user social media platform as one of several Chinese-controlled tech companies that can be turned against users.
“If your country uses Huawei, if your kids are on TikTok, if your population uses WeChat as a social media platform, the ability for China to have undue influence is, I think, a much greater challenge and a much more immediate threat than any kind of actual, armed conflict,” Warner said. “China having this kind of technology domination in a number of countries ought to scare the heck out of us because we’ve seen the kind of Orwellian surveillance state they’ve already created within China.”
Beijing requires companies and citizens by law to “support, assist and co-operate with the state intelligence work.”
In 2021, the Biden administration
The Biden administration is still trying to work out a deal to allow TikTok to operate in the U.S. but follow Trump’s demands that it seperate American users’ data and protect it from Chinese officials. Industry experts have expressed doubt that a workable deal can be reached.
“Unless they’re going to rebuild the system in the United States at great expense, sooner or later, when something goes wrong, there’s going to turn out to be only one engineer who knows how to fix it,” national security lawyer Stewart Baker told Bloomberg. “And he or she is likely to be in China.”