A key U.S. senator warned that Apple and the Chinese-owned music-video app TikTok are threats to international data security due to their business ties to China.
“With Apple and TikTok, we see two sides of the same coin when it comes to data security: the danger of Chinese tech platforms’ entry into the U.S. market, and the danger of American tech companies’ operations in China,” Missouri lawmaker Josh Hawley told a hearing he led on big data and China Tuesday.
U.S. lawmakers called for a national security review of TikTok last month. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas wrote to U.S. Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire Oct. 23, referring to TikTok as a “potential counterintelligence threat we cannot ignore.”
“A company compromised by the Chinese Communist Party knows where your children are, knows what they look like, what their voices sound like, what they’re watching and what they share with each other,” Hawley said during the hearing. “All it takes is one knock on the door of their parent company, based in China, from a Communist Party official, for that data to be transferred to the Chinese government’s hands whenever they need it.”
I’ve invited @Apple and @tiktok_us to testify on Tuesday about their business in & with China and the risks to American consumers. So far, they are both refusing. Something to hide? https://t.co/I76OzAVyfF
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) November 3, 2019
Hawley also criticized Apple for “risking compromise to authoritarianism” because of the importance of the Chinese market to the Cupertino-based company’s partnership, announced last year, to store iCloud data locally for users in mainland China.
“If you’ve got family in China or business contacts there, you cannot count on iMessage encryption to keep your interactions secure from Chinese authorities,” Hawley said, though he praised the company’s stances on encryption and privacy.
MacDailyNews Take: In China, there is cybersecurity law that requires any company operating in China to give the government access to data. Apple must comply if they want to do business in China (which they obviously do – and pretty desperately, too; see below).
In Hong Kong, with Apple pulling the HKmap Live app and then trying to paper it over with a transparent lie, no such law compelled Apple. That was just a hypocritical political kowtow and worthy of criticism, given Tim Cook’s very public utterances regarding human rights.