- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Tuesday raised questions over the U.S. Army’s plan to use the popular Chinese-owned social media app TikTok to help find social media-obsessed recruits.

TikTok, launched in 2017, allows users to create short music and comedy videos. According to Business Insider, it has at least 1 billion downloads and is the leading iPhone app in the U.S.

Military members are among those users, the New York Democrat noted in his letter to Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy.

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“While I recognize that the Army must adapt its recruiting techniques in order to attract young Americans to serve, I urge you to assess the potential national security risks posed by China-owned technology companies before choosing to utilize certain platforms,” Mr. Schumer wrote in the Nov. 7 letter released by his office Tuesday.

“National security experts have raised concerns about TikTok’s collection and handling of user data, including user content and communications, IP addresses, location-related data, metadata and other sensitive personal information,” he wrote.

In an interview with Fox News, Rep. Jim Banks, Indiana Republican, called TikTok a tool of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government to infiltrate the U.S.

“The more we learn about how (they) use tools like the TikTok app or the facial-recognition apps they’ve used in the past … the more we should be concerned about what their purposes ultimately are,” Mr. Banks said.

Mr. Schumer said he was particularly concerned about laws that would compel Chinese-owned companies to cooperate with Beijing’s intelligence services.

“Due to a lack of transparency and without an independent judiciary to review requests made by the Chinese government for user data and other actions, there is no local mechanism for Chinese companies to appeal if they disagree with a request,” Mr. Schumer wrote.

Requests for comment from Army officials and TikTok have not been returned.

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