World Lawmakers blasted the UK government for sharing 'confidential' information in private messages to TikTok execs

11:41  22 january  2021
11:41  22 january  2021 Source:   businessinsider.com

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China's popular video sharing app TikTok had "multiple" security vulnerabilities, according to a new The cybersecurity firm found that it's possible to send a standard text message to any phone TikTok is also the subject of a Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, national

TikTok has grown prodigiously as more people seek entertainment during lockdowns triggered by the coronavirus. A similar presentation distributed in the first quarter of the year pegged TikTok at 10 million regular users in the U . K . A TikTok representative in London declined to comment on the data.

Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: Boris Johnson's (left) senior aide Sir Edward Lister (right) was among those receiving the messages with TikTok Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images © Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images Boris Johnson's (left) senior aide Sir Edward Lister (right) was among those receiving the messages with TikTok Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images
  • British politicians reacted to Insider revealing the UK government told TikTok the 'confidential' identity of its next China ambassador.
  • One says Downing Street faces 'serious questions' on the tranche of messages, obtained under Freedom of Information laws.
  • They also showed the government trying to reassure TikTok over new national security powers.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The UK government has "serious questions" to answer, lawmakers have said after Insider revealed it told TikTok the confidential identity of its next China ambassador before the appointment was confirmed.

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Insider published internal conversations between TikTok and senior government officials from January to June 2020, when the video app was reportedly negotiating to base its global headquarters in London.

The conversations took place even as TikTok was the subject of national security concerns in the US due to its ties to China.

Officials from the government's trade department tried to reassure TikTok over wider plans to boost government powers to police foreign investments into the UK, the messages show.

The Department for International Trade (DfiT) also revealed, then asked TikTok to be "discreet" about, the news Caroline Wilson was likely the UK's next ambassador to China, before the appointment was confirmed and four months before it was announced.

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TikTok has been under fire before—but not like this. It has suddenly been hit by the perfect storm of four separate security stories inside a week. Under Hong Kong’s new national security laws , China could compel TikTok to share information and its users might be prosecuted for dissent for content

TikTok , a video- sharing mobile application owned by the Chinese company ByteDance Ltd., has American companies and organizations have begun banning TikTok on their devices. The United States must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security.

Read the UK government correspondence with TikTok exclusively obtained by Insider

Politicians blasted the government for the revelations.

Labour MP Chris Elmore, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on social media, said the messages "leave a trail right to the Prime Minister's own office." Recipients on the messages included senior Downing Street officials such as Sir Edward Lister, then Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief strategic advisor.

Elmore added: "There are now serious questions that need to be answered by the UK government ... We must all be concerned that strictly confidential information of national importance is being willingly shared with social media companies.

"We need to know what direction the Prime Minister gave to his staff to provide this information with TikTok, when did he first learn about this email exchange and what other sensitive information may have been shared from his office."

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A look into the hit app Tik Tok . DailyMail explores what is so popular the new social media app. People post memes, challenges, and more.

Obama’s complaint alleged that the former US President compromised US security by conspiring with a business partner and former CIA agent to give US government classified information to high up Chinese intelligence officials in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

"It is utterly contemptible to find ourselves yet again in the position where social media companies are operating in cosy back rooms to gain influence at the very heart of government."

Andrew Lewer, a member of the China Research Group (CRG) of Conservative MPs launched by senior Tories last year to shape policy on China, was surprised by how the government acted.

He added attitudes to China have changed since the messages were sent last June. Conservative lawmakersare increasingly concerned about the UK's trading relationship with China, particularly in light of atrocities against its Uighur minority population.

Insider originally requested the documents under Freedom of Information laws in July.

"Reports of the contents of these documents serve to show how quickly sentiment within both government and the Parliamentary Party is hardening towards China," Lever said, speaking personally rather than for the CRG.

"Some elements of these conversations, as reported, would be, at the very least, difficult to envisage happening now, even though it is less than a year later. They also illustrate the growing tension between China as a market for UK plc and its status as a human-rights abuser on a vast scale."

Biden admin vows to hold China 'accountable' while weighing approach to Huawei, TikTok

  Biden admin vows to hold China 'accountable' while weighing approach to Huawei, TikTok The Biden administration on Monday signaled that it will continue to "hold China accountable" on technology-related concerns, though final decisions around its stance on social media app TikTok and telecom group Huawei have not yet been made. "Technologyis of course at the center of U.S.-China competition," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a briefing on Monday. "China has been willing to do whatever it takes to gain a technological advantage, stealing intellectual property, engaging in industrial espionage, and forcing technology transfer.

Luke de Pulford, coordinator of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, a group of lawmakers whose members include former UK Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith and former US presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio, was also worried.

He decried "the so-called 'Golden Era'" of British-Chinese relations under past governments when "the UK sold out to China, shelving our values in the hope of economic gain."

"Many key civil servants have yet to smell the coffee," he said. "There cannot be business as usual or behind closed doors deals with states credibly accused of genocide."

Fears of TikTok's ties to China stem from the fact its parent company ByteDance, though registered in the Cayman Islands, is headquartered in Beijing. Lawmakers worry that the firm could be compelled to hand over information about users to the Chinese regime.

TikTok has repeatedly denied it would share user data with the Chinese Government if asked.

TikTok declined to comment and DfIT did not respond.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Florida Police Officer Investigated Over Uniformed TikTok Dancing Videos .
Shelby Abramson, 29, is remaining at work with the Orange County Sheriff's Office in Orlando while the internal investigation is underway. Officers said the department had not received any complaints about the videos. Your browser does not support this video A TikTok account with the name Shelltothebeee shows a woman posing in her police uniform in more than a dozen clips, with Florida news outlets reporting that the account belongs to Abramson. An Instagram account linked to the TikTok page features a number of photos of a woman in uniform.

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