AOC Dismisses TikTok Espionage Concerns, Confuses Issues – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (or AOC) confused the issues involved with banning TikTok in her first TikTok video released back in late March.
She argues that TikTok should not be banned because U.S. law does not provide privacy protections for social-media users unlike the European Union (EU).
AOC Has No Clue on TikTOK
“Now, not only is this my first TikTok, but this is my first Tiktok about TikTok. Now, this week the CEO of TikTok came and testified before Congress as there is growing rumblings of a nationwide ban on the app,” Ocasio-Cortez said at the time. “Do I believe that TikTok should be banned? No.
AOC continued: “This is an app that has over 150 million Americans on it.”
She called the move “unprecedented” because the United States has never banned a social-media company.
“Some of the discussions about banning TikTok have come around things like Chinese surveillance and utilization of data that is tracked and enormous amount of tracking on U.S. citizens and data that is harvested by TikTok,” she said.
Is She Serious?
Ocasio-Cortez equates Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other tech companies routinely share information with U.S. government law enforcement and intelligence agencies without the users’ knowledge with that of the intelligence agencies of a hostile power.
Would AOC have said the same thing if TikTok was controlled by Russian intelligence?
AOC asked why Congress had not received a classified briefing on TikTok; however, connecting TikTok’s parent company ByteDance and Chinese spy agencies would be a matter of open-source research by her staff. Since 2021, the Chinese government has had a seat on the company’s board of directors.
In 2019, ByteDance entered into a formal relationship with China’s Ministry of Public Security, which spies on Chinese citizens domestically, the Chinese news site Sohu.com reported. The ministry works to monitor data entering Chinese government systems to control China’s populace.
The Ministry of Public Security has become increasingly integrated with China’s external spy agency, the Ministry of State Security.
“… [W]e will further increase in-depth cooperation with ByteDance in the creation and production of new media content, further enhance public security publicity, guidance, influence, and credibility, and promote the in-depth development of public security agencies’ media integration to better serve the work of the public security center and the construction of the public security team will create a good public opinion atmosphere for the development and progress of public security work in the new era,” Zhan Jun, secretary of the Party Committee and director of the News and Propaganda Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security, said at a ceremony announcing the relationship.
Chinese Law and TikTok
Article 7 of China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law requires all Chinese organizations and citizens to “support, assist, and cooperate with state intelligence work in accordance with the law, and maintain the secrecy of all knowledge of state intelligence work.”
China’s government has said it would not allow the forcible sale of TikTok by American authorities.
“If the news [about a forced sale] is true, China will firmly oppose it,” Shu Jueting, spokeswoman for China’s Commerce Ministry, told the Associated Press months back.
The same 2017 law states that the Chinese government will protect all organizations that help with espionage.
President Joe Biden signed legislation passed by the Democratic-controlled Congress in December banning TikTok its use by the 4 million U.S. government employees, excepting those engaged in national security, law enforcement, or research purposes.
What the Experts Told 19FortyFive
“It’s simple: The moment you download and install an app on your phone you give that app total access to your life, no matter what the … [End User Agreement] says, and if China is the owner of the company that owns the app, they own you and your data…end of story,” Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, president of the London Center for Policy Research and a retired Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) intelligence officer, told 19FortyFive back in March.
John Rossomando’s work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award in 2008 for his reporting.