Department of Justice: US Department of Justice investigates TikTok owner for ‘spying’ on journalists: report

WASHINGTON: The justice department investigation into the surveillance of American citizens, including several journalists who cover the technology industry, by the Chinese company that owns TikTok, according to three people familiar with the matter. The investigation, which began late last year, appears to be linked to the company’s December admission, ByteDancethat its employees improperly obtained data from American ICT Tac users, including two journalists and some of their associates.
The department’s criminal division, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia are investigating ByteDance, which is based in Beijing and has close ties to the Chinese government, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. A Justice Department spokesperson had no comment.
Confirmation of the investigation comes as the White House is toughening its stance to force the company to address national security concerns over TikTok. They fear, among other things, that China could use the popular video service to gather data on or spy on Americans, undermine democratic institutions and foster internet addiction among young people.
TikTok revealed this week that the Biden administration had asked its owner to sell the app – which is already blocked on government phones in the United States, Europe and more than two dozen states – or risk being fined. a possible ban.
The federal criminal investigation was reported earlier by Forbes magazine. The journalist who wrote the article said she was among those whose data had been tracked by the company. ByteDance employees involved in the surveillance, who were later fired, were trying to find the sources of alleged leaks of internal conversations and business documents to reporters. They gained access to the IP addresses and other data of journalists and people they were connected to through their TikTok accounts. Two of the employees were based in China.


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