DOJ searching into TikTok owner more than surveillance of journalists: reports

The Justice Division (DOJ) is investigating the Chinese corporation that owns the video-sharing platform TikTok more than the prospective surveillance of journalists who cover technologies, a number of outlets reported Friday. 

3 people today familiar with the matter told The New York Occasions that the DOJ is investigating the company’s surveillance of U.S. citizens broadly, also. The Occasions reported that the probe appears to be connected to the admission from ByteDance, which owns TikTok, in December that some of its personnel inappropriately gained access to some U.S. citizens’ user information. 

Internal emails that the Occasions obtained showed the corporation performed an internal investigation and discovered personnel gained access to information from two journalists and people today related with them. Forbes reported following the Times’s report that two further journalists that perform for the outlet had been also tracked. 

The personnel had been functioning as component of a monitoring system to attempt to uncover the supply of leaks. All 4 personnel involved in getting the information had been fired. 

A individual with understanding of the predicament told the Occasions for its Friday report that the DOJ’s criminal division, the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s workplace for the Eastern District of Virginia are conducting the investigation. 

A DOJ spokesperson told the Occasions that they had no comment on the report.

A spokesperson for TikTok referred the Occasions to ByteDance for queries.

A ByteDance spokesperson told The Hill that the corporation “strongly” condemns the actions of the personnel who obtained the information on the journalists and are no longer functioning for the corporation.

“Our internal investigation is nonetheless ongoing, and we will cooperate with any official investigations when brought to us,” they mentioned.

Forbes also confirmed the investigation just before the Occasions report. 

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The Biden administration has lately been growing stress on TikTok following criticism of the app more than issues about the safety of its U.S. users’ information on a platform run by a Chinese corporation. Critics have expressed worries that the information could be obtained by the Chinese government, when TikTok has insisted that the information is not at threat. 

The administration has told ByteDance that it need to sell its stake in TikTok or the app could possibly be banned in the nation. The app has been banned on devices owned by the federal government and much more than two dozen state governments amid the backlash. 

Legislation has also been introduced in Congress to ban the app in the nation completely. 

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