The chief administrative officer for the House of Representatives is officially recommending members not download or use TikTok due to security concerns. A CAO memo states the app made by a Chinese-owned company is a high-security risk.
According to the CAO, TikTok can collect biometric identifiers like faceprints or voice prints. It also actively gathers data like GPS location, calendar, contacts, images and subscriptions. That information is stored on servers in China and mined for both commercial and personal purposes.
The data collection is so specific it can even track a device’s battery state and keystrokes.
“TikTok actively harvests content for identifiable data,” the CAO memo, first reported by Politico, stated.
While the CAO is making this recommendation, social media rules are ultimately made by each individual member of Congress for their office. The military and TSA have both banned TikTok on government devices.
“To reiterate, we do not recommend the download or use of this application due to these security and privacy concerns,” the memo stated.
In June, a group of Republican senators wrote to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew in the wake of a BuzzFeed News report that said user data had been viewed by company engineers in China. The letter asked Shou to answer a number of questions regarding user data. That included verifying if Chinese employees had access to data storage servers, if the Chinese Communist Party has ever asked for U.S. user information or if TikTok ever handed it over. Shou’s answers provided in a letter were meant to put things at ease, but instead made things worse by confirming employees in China have access to the data.
“Isn’t it amazing, TikTok will give you the same old, same old, and what have we found out. It appears they are letting the Chinese communist party have access to your information,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn, said in response to the letter.