Monday, March 27, 2023

Justice Department: US Justice Department probing TikTok owner for ‘spying’ on journalists: report – Usky News

Washington: The Justice Department The owner of TikTok is investigating surveillance of US citizens, including several journalists covering the tech industry, by the Chinese company, according to three people familiar with the matter. The investigation, which began late last year, appears to be tied to an admission by the company in December, bytedancethat its employees improperly obtained data from American TIC Toc Users, including two reporters and some of their colleagues.
The department’s criminal division, the FBI and the US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia are investigating ByteDance, which is based in Beijing and has close ties to China’s government, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. A Justice Department spokeswoman had no comment.
The confirmation of the investigation comes as the White House hardens its stance toward forcing the company to address national security concerns about TikTok. These include fears that China could use the popular video service to collect data about or spy on Americans, undermine democratic institutions and fuel Internet addiction among youth.
TikTok revealed this week that the Biden administration had asked its owner to sell the app — which is already blocked from government phones in the US, Europe and more than two dozen states — or face a possible ban.
The federal criminal investigation was first reported by Forbes magazine. The journalist who wrote the story said she was one of the people whose data was tracked by the company. ByteDance employees involved in the surveillance, who were later fired, were trying to trace the sources of the suspected leaks of internal conversations and business documents to reporters. They gained access to the IP addresses and other data of journalists and people they connected with through their TikTok accounts. Two employees were based in China.


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