Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin was on Sunday Morning Futures to talk about several big news stories, including the dangers of TikTok, which he called “digital fentanyl” and about which he and Sen. Marco Rubio wrote an oped earlier this month.
Maria Bartiromo was off today and Sean Duffy filled in as guest host. He asked what every American should be asking: Shouldn’t rules be in place that the Chinese Communist Party shouldn’t be mining data off of American citizens?
I mean y’all. Seriously. This is basic stuff. How are we just sitting here and letting this happen?
This is so obvious it hurts my brain that we haven’t. We have let the Trojans give us a horse EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW THE SOLDIERS ARE IN IT.
But they’ve hired an “army” of swamp-dwellers to make sure that doesn’t happen, says Gallagher. Which, if you ask me, warrants congressional investigation and hearings.
And of course, you can’t count on the tech companies, who are thinking about banning TWITTER from their stores over Elon Musk buying it but are happy to leave a CCP spy app available to all who wish it. Because our society is out of its damn MIND.
Sen. Rubio and Rep. Gallagher had an oped at the Washington Post earlier this month on the subject. Here’s an excerpt.
Already among the most popular media companies in the United States, TikTok offers the CCP a unique ability to monitor more than 1 billion users worldwide, including nearly two-thirds of American teenagers. We must ban this potential spyware before it is too late — not encourage its use in the United States, as President Biden is doing.
TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. This is not a state-owned enterprise, but in China, no company is truly private. Under the country’s 2017 National Intelligence Law, all citizens and businesses are required to assist in intelligence work, which includes sharing data.
That’s not all. According to Forbes, LinkedIn profiles reveal that 23 of ByteDance’s directors previously worked for CCP propaganda outlets, and at least 15 ByteDance employees work for them now. Moreover, the company’s editor in chief, who also happens to be the secretary of its internal CCP committee, stressed that the committee would “take the lead” in “all product lines and business lines” to ensure that ByteDance’s products have “correct political direction.”
The company’s ownership of TikTok is problematic for two reasons. First, the app can track cellphone users’ locations and collect internet-browsing data — even when users are visiting unrelated websites.
That TikTok, and by extension the CCP, has the ability to survey every keystroke teenagers enter on their phones is disturbing. With this app, Beijing could also collect sensitive national security information from U.S. government employees and develop profiles on millions of Americans to use for blackmail or espionage.
Of course, TikTok denies that it would ever do such a thing. That’s hard to believe, however, in light of recent reporting in Forbes that ByteDance planned to use the app to monitor the locations of American citizens for undisclosed purposes unrelated to advertising.
I know how tough a conversation with your kid can be when it comes to something like this, but American parents need to have it with them anyway.
I know your teen will feel stupid and left out, they won’t care about being monitored and they won’t care about the politics, they will just feel like you’re an old boomer stick in the mud. You may worry that it will turn them against conservative ideas, or feed stereotypes that Republicans hate fun and love oppression.
But parents have to tell them to get rid of it anyway. They have to be told about what really goes on in China, the real reasons that data in aggregate is so powerful for the CCP, and what real oppression is.
It’s going to be harder than a stay off drugs conversation because they won’t believe the risks are real here. But parents have to tell their kids to get rid of TikTok.
Because until it’s banned, there won’t be any help from the tech companies.
OPEN THREAD I