Commerce explains safeguarding US data amid TikTok fears

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This week, the Biden administration outlined efforts to address growing national security concerns in the United States about foreign companies’ handling of Americans’ data.

Gina Raimondo, Commerce Secretary, stated at a U.S. According to a Senate hearing, the agency is attempting “to secure our communications and technology networks, and we are right now in the process of hiring a team to do monitoring, investigation, and enforcement.”

After the hearing, Raimondo told Reuters that “we’re hiring dozens of people” to “look for any companies that may pose an undue security risk to our networks or to our data.”

Concerns about Chinese-owned TikTok have inspired new measures in Congress to increase authority to handle the popular short video sharing app or potentially prohibit it.

Republican Senator Jerry Moran says Biden administration agencies informed lawmakers on Wednesday in a previously disclosed classified session on “Foreign adversaries exploitation of America’s data from social media platforms, data brokers, and other companies.”

Alan Estevez, Commerce Secretary for Industry and Security, was among those addressing information and communications technology supply (ICTS) chain concerns.

The Restrict Act

According to aides, about 20 senators attended the Commerce Committee briefing.

Senators Mark Warner and John Thune introduced the Restrict Act this month, along with 24 other senators, to give the Commerce Department unprecedented authority to evaluate or restrict a variety of foreign transactions that pose national security hazards.

“I believe it is a top priority, and we must act quickly,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo spoke on the legislative effort during a Senate hearing on Wednesday. “It’s more than one company, and it’s a constant pervasive threat, and we need the permanent tools properly funded with expertise.”

The Restrict Act is supported by the White House and Raimondo. Critics argue that the measure is overbroad. It violates the civil freedoms of Americans, especially the more than 150 million U.S. citizens who use TikTok. TikTok denies using US data unlawfully.

Raimondo stated that the agency has been proactive in dealing with Chinese threats.

“I’ve put over 200 Chinese companies on the entity list in my tenure and we are actively, constantly investigating additional threats and if and as we think companies need to go onto the list, I will not hesitate,” she said.

The Commerce Department published a statement days before then-President Donald Trump left office in 2021. It addressed ICTS concerns raised by China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela.

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Author: Francis Rey

Francis is a voracious reader and prolific writer. He has been writing about social media and technology for more than 10 years. During off hours, he relishes moments with his wife and daughter.

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