“Amid facing US Congress, the CEO of TikTok dismisses India’s ban as ‘hypothetical’.”

In 2020, India banned several Chinese apps, including TikTok and WeChat, citing concerns over privacy and security. During a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on Thursday, Shou Chew, the CEO of TikTok Inc., faced tough questioning due to mounting worries about the company’s security and potential influence from the Chinese government.

Despite this, Chew attempted to argue that TikTok is taking concrete steps to address US national security concerns.

Throughout a lengthy four-hour hearing, Chew repeatedly emphasized that TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese tech giant Bytedance, has consistently maintained that it does not share user data with the Chinese government and does not pose a threat to its 150 million American users, nor does it share their data with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

However, during her questioning, US lawmaker Debbie Lesko cited examples of other countries, such as India, that have recently implemented some form of ban on TikTok.

Lesko questioned Mr. Chew, stating that TikTok is a tool controlled by the Chinese government and raises national security concerns. She cited the ban on TikTok in India and a Forbes article revealing that data from Indian citizens who used TikTok was accessible to employees at the company and its Beijing-based parent.

Chew responded by saying that many of the risks are hypothetical and that he has not seen any evidence. Lesko emphasized the India ban and the security concerns raised by the Forbes article, stating that a TikTok employee had confirmed that sensitive information about users can be accessed easily by anyone with basic company tools.

When asked about a recent article, Shou Chew replied that he has instructed his team to investigate the matter. He emphasized that their data access protocols are stringent and that nobody can access the tools without proper authorization.

Thus, he disagrees with many of the conclusions drawn in the article. In 2020, India banned TikTok and several other Chinese apps, including WeChat, due to privacy and security concerns.

The ban followed a deadly clash between Indian and Chinese troops at LAC, which claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers and left numerous others wounded.

While the companies had an opportunity to respond to questions regarding privacy and security requirements, the ban was ultimately made permanent in January 2021.

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