US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco says she 'would not advise' anyone to use TikTok due to data security concerns
- Deputy AG Lisa Monaco said she does not use TikTok, and would not advise anyone to use the app.
- Speaking at an event, she said China's policies make it easy for the government to obtain data from companies.
US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said Thursday that she does not use TikTok and "would not advise" anyone to use the app due to security concerns.
Speaking at a panel at London's Chatham House on Thursday, Monaco said policies that allow China's government to access data from private companies could put anyone at risk who uses apps owned by Chinese companies, including ByteDance-owned TikTok.
"Its national security law requires any company doing business in China to make its data accessible to the government," Monaco said in prepared remarks for the event. "So, if a company is operating in China and is collecting your data, it's a good bet that the Chinese government is accessing it."
She said during the discussion that she believes there is reason to be concerned about the safety of data gathered on apps like TikTok. The massively popular social media app has dethroned others like Instagram in terms of popularity, especially among young users.
That popularity can create valuable data for China to leverage in any number of ways in the future, according to Monaco.
"I don't use TikTok, and I would not advise anybody to do so because of these concerns," Monaco said. "The bottom line is that China has been quite clear that they are trying to mold and put forward the use and norms around technologies that advance their privilege and their interests. Those interests that are not consistent with our own."
Monaco is the latest among a growing list of government officials speaking out in opposition of the social media platform.
Dozens of states, as well as departments within the federal government, have banned the app from being downloaded on government-issued devices over security concerns Monaco voiced Thursday. Some legislators have even proposed banning the app altogether in the US.
Insider's Dan Whateley reported in January that TikTok and ByteDance spent millions of dollars lobbying Congress in 2022, including on bills regarding data privacy and the proposed bans.
During the panel, Monaco announced the creation of the Disruptive Technology Strike Force, which she said is a partnership across US law enforcement designed to prevent foreign adversaries from accessing critical US technology and to identify high-tech threats to national security.
In response to Insider's request to comment, a TikTok spokesperson referenced "Project Texas," an initiative to improve the company's data security program so it can continue operating in the US, which currently remains in discussion among lawmakers.
"Project Texas puts US user data out of reach of any foreign government," the spokesperson told Insider. "The swiftest and most thorough way to address national security concerns about TikTok is for CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States) to adopt the proposed agreement that we worked with them on for nearly two years."
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