NSA Director Expresses Concern About TikTok Influence!

The list of Americans concerned about Chinese technology and social media sites like TikTok now includes a senior officer from the U.S. intelligence community.

On Tuesday, the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command chief, General Paul Nakasone, warned lawmakers that Beijing is “a mighty foe” and that there are many reasons to be concerned about its rapid cyberspace development.

“TikTok concerns me for many different reasons,” Nakasone said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. “One is the data that they have. Secondly are the algorithm and the control. Who has the algorithm?”

Third, he said, “is the broad platform” both for unleashing potential influence operations and for giving China a way to “turn off the message.”

Around 100 million Americans use the social media app TikTok, so the United States last month advanced plans to block it on government-owned devices.

Legislators in the United States have demanded that Joe Biden be given the authority to impose a national ban on using the social media app.

Others disagree with granting Biden the authority to impose a broad national ban, contending TikTok is simply a minor aspect of a broader problem.

“The threat that everyone is talking about is TikTok and how it could enable surveillance by the Chinese Communist Party or facilitate the spread of malign influence campaigns in the U.S,” Democratic Senator Mark Warner told reporters.

“Before TikTok, however, it was Huawei and ZTE which threatened our nation’s telecommunications networks. And before that, it was Russia’s Kaspersky Lab.”

“We need a comprehensive, risk-based approach that proactively tackles sources of potentially dangerous technology before they gain a foothold in America,” he said.

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The Restrict Act, promoted by Warner and others, would create a rule-based procedure, guided by the Department of Commerce and informed by the US intelligence community, to recognize and handle foreign technical threats.

ByteDance, the leading company of TikTok, has brushed off worries that it will misuse user data as “political theater.” Nonetheless, concerns about Chinese businesses and technology continue to rise.

According to a report published on Sunday in The Wall Street Journal, American defense officials are concerned that Chinese-made ship-to-shore cranes present in many American ports could be used to spy on imported and exported items from the country.

When asked about the possibility of Chinese espionage at American ports, Republican Congressman Carlos Gimenez told VOA, “Communist China has monopolized the port crane industry, and I will continue to spearhead efforts to decouple from the regime in Beijing and incentivize the near-shoring and reshoring of our strategic manufacturing capabilities. “I’ll battle to defend our vital infrastructure against spying attempts by the CCP.”

However, tensions have been growing since the U.S. shot down what it claimed to be a Chinese surveillance balloon last month after it had crossed much of the continental United States.

And in the upcoming days, Biden is anticipated to announce an executive order that will tighten restrictions on American businesses’ ability to operate in China.

Tuesday in Beijing, China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang criticized the United States, telling reporters that it “wholly departed from the sensible.

Nakasone, however, cautioned lawmakers that it would be wise for businesses and politicians to exercise caution while utilizing platforms and technology produced in China.

“I would ensure that the areas most sensitive to our operations are well-censored, and I have the confidence that’s what’s being utilized there. I understand where that information may be going,” the CYBERCOM commander said.

“I would take a very, very hard look at anything that would come from an adversarial nation,” Nakasone said, though he acknowledged it would be “tough” to proceed with an all-out ban of Chinese products.

“So much of what we do is based upon international trade,” he said, “and China has the corner on some things.

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