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Iran Press TV

US Army bans China's TikTok over security worries

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 01 January 2020 5:54 AM

US Army soldiers have been banned from using the hugely popular short video app TikTok over a security threat, according to an Army spokeswoman.

The decision to ban the Chinese-owned app was made following the lead of the Navy and guidance from the Defense Department, the spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

"There was a Cyber Awareness Message sent out on 16 December identifies TikTok as having potential security risks associated with its use," Army spokesperson Lt. Col Robin L. Ochoa told CNN.

"The message directs appropriate action for employees to take in order to safeguard their personal information. The guidance is to be wary of applications you download, monitor your phones for unusual and unsolicited texts etc., and delete them immediately and uninstall TikTok to circumvent any exposure of personal information."

"It is considered a cyber threat," Ochoa told Military.com. "We do not allow it on government phones."

Last month, the Navy banned the app, owned by the China-based tech company ByteDance, from government-issued mobile devices, saying it represented a "cybersecurity threat."

In October, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., a member of the Armed Services and Intelligence committees, sent a letter to acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire, asking him to assess TikTok and other China-based companies for potential security risks.

The lawmakers argued that because ByteDance is based in China, TikTok could be forced "to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party."

TikTok responded with a statement, saying, "Our data centers are located entirely outside of China, and none of our data is subject to Chinese law."

"Further, we have a dedicated technical team focused on adhering to robust cybersecurity policies, and data privacy and security practices."

The US military had been using the app as a tool to recruit and a way to reach young people, but it started to discourage personnel from using it in mid-December, according to Military.com.

Military personnel are allowed to use the app on their personal devices, but the Pentagon has warned that those using the app in their private lives to be cautious.

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