House of Representatives officer warns members of Congress not to use 'high-risk' TikTok

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House of Representatives' Chief Administrative Officer Catherine Szpindor issued an advisory Wednesday discouraging lawmakers from using TikTok.

The memo, citing information from the CAO's CyberSecurity office, calls TikTok a "high risk" social media application that could jeopardize individuals' privacy.

The CyberSecurity office pointed to the excessive access to personal information users must grant the Chinese company in order to use the platform.

"TikTok is a Chinese-owned company, and any use of this platform should be done with that in mind," the memo reads. "The 'TikTok' mobile application has been deemed by the CAO Office of CyberSecurity to be a high-risk to users due to the lack of transparency in how it protects customer data, its requirement of excessive permissions, and the potential security risks involved with its use." 

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"TikTok actively harvests content for identifiable data. TikTok 'may collect biometric identifiers and biometric information as defined under US law,' including 'faceprints' and 'voiceprints' from videos users upload to their platform," the advisory continued.

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TikTok, available to millions of Americans through Apple and Google online stores, is owned by the Beijing-based company ByteDance, an organization that Carr asserts is "behold to the Communist Party of China and required by Chinese law to comply with the PRC’s surveillance demands.

The first thing NCMEC teaches children who are new to the internet and social media is to refrain from sharing too much information about themselves. (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

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The advisory included a complete list of security concerns, stating, "TikTok policy has stated that it automatically collects information about users' devices, including location data based on your SIM card and IP addresses and GPS, your use of TikTok itself and all the content you create or upload, the data you send in messages on its app, metadata from the content you create or upload, cookies, the app and file names on your device, battery state and even your keystroke and rhythms, among other things."

Federal Communication Commission commissioner Brendan Carr previously urged Apple and Google to remove the app from their platforms due to the potential national security risk it poses by potentially allowing the Chinese government to access user data.

In this photo illustration the logo of Chinese media app TikTok is displayed on the screen of a computer on Nov. 20, 2019, in Paris.  (Chesnot/Getty Images / Getty Images)

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Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson recently encouraged his supporters to follow his newly created TikTok account despite warnings from numerous officials that it poses a national security risk and a vote from Thompson in March to ban Department of Homeland Security employees from using the platform.

"Follow my new account on TikTok. (benniegthompson)," the Mississippi Democrat, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee and the Jan. 6 Select Committee tweeted on July 1.

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