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UPDATE 1-Two senators call for FTC probe into TikTok over U.S. data access

(Adds FTC, TikTok comment; background)
    By David Shepardson
    WASHINGTON, July 5 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate Intelligence
Committee chair and top Republican have called on the Federal
Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate social media app TikTok
and Chinese parent ByteDance due to "repeated
misrepresentations" over its handling of U.S. data.
    The request on Tuesday from Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat,
and Republican Marco Rubio followed a Buzzfeed report saying the
short video app permitted TikTok engineers and executives in
China to repeatedly access private data of U.S. users. The
senators said such access raised questions over TikTok's claims
to lawmakers and users that the data was protected.
    "In light of repeated misrepresentations by TikTok
concerning its data security, data processing, and corporate
governance practices, we urge you to act promptly on this
matter," the senators wrote FTC Chair Lina Khan.
    TikTok said Tuesday https://newsroom.tiktok.com/en-us/our-approach-to-keeping-us-data-secure
 that access to data "is subject to a series of robust controls,
safeguards like encryption for certain data, and authorization
approval protocols overseen by our U.S.-based
leadership/security team." 
    The company responded to the senators' letter by reiterating
"TikTok has never shared U.S. user data with the Chinese
government, nor would we if asked."
    The FTC confirmed it had received the letter but declined
further comment.
    Last week, TikTok told U.S. senators it was working on a
final agreement with the Biden Administration that would "fully
safeguard user data and U.S. national security interests."
    TikTok acknowledged in a letter Thursday that China-based
employees "can have access to TikTok U.S. user data subject to a
series of robust cybersecurity controls and authorization
approval protocols overseen by our U.S.-based security team."
    TikTok Chief Executive Shou Zi Chew told senators it was
working with Oracle Corp  ORCL.N  on "new advanced data security
controls that we hope to finalize in the near future."
    The senators' letter https://www.warner.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/3/e/3eeb87b3-e9b5-4aa4-8ea1-361a8472ff46/A42795C63518B32671F9ACCF82B1E26A.khan-ssci-tiktok-letter.pdf
 cited a BuzzFeed news story about leaked internal recordings
that said China-based employees of ByteDance had at the "very
least" access to U.S. data.
    TikTok's letter Thursday said hit had not misled Congress
about its data and security controls and practices.
    Last month, TikTok said it had completed migrating
information on its U.S. users to servers at Oracle but it was
still using U.S. and Singapore data centers for backup. 
    It has been nearly two years since a U.S. national security
panel ordered parent company ByteDance to divest TikTok because
of fears that U.S. user data could be passed on to China's
communist government.
    TikTok is one of the world's most popular social media apps,
with more than 1 billion active users globally, and counts the
United States as its largest market.

 (Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Leslie Adler and
Christopher Cushing)
 ((David.Shepardson@thomsonreuters.com; 2028988324;))

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