TikTok disallowed on White House devices as press sec refuses to directly declare app a 'security risk'

Jean-Pierre said she would not "get ahead of it," noting that there was a review underway to determine the threat TikTok poses.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
During Monday's White House press briefing, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was grilled over whether the Biden administration considered TikTok to be a national security threat.

While Jean-Pierre did note that the Chinese application was banned from devices in the White House, she stopped short of directly declaring it a risk to the safety of the United States.

"There are bipartisan calls up on Capitol Hill as it relates to TikTok and the national security implications of it," the reporter began. 

He went on to cite Montana Sen. Ken Bogner, who said, "If the CCP surveillance balloon scares you, wait until you hear about TikTok," and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, who called on Apple and Google to remove it from their devices and app stores.

"Does the administration believe that TikTok is a national security threat?" the reporter asked, "and does it believe those apps should be removed from phones?"

"The president– the Biden administration more broadly, has never allowed TikTok on the White House devices," Jean-Pierre replied, noting that other federal agencies have implemented similar restrictions.

"We have been clear about our concerns on apps like TikTok," she continued, "and so we are focused on the challenges of certain countries, including China, seeking to leverage digital technologies and Americans' data in ways that present unaccountable– unacceptable national security risks."

Jean-Pierre said she would not "get ahead of it," noting that there was a review underway to determine the threat TikTok poses.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee recently announced that as part of the review, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew would be testifying in March.

Committee chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers alleged that TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, "knowingly allowed the ability for the Chinese Communist Party to access American user data."

"Americans deserve to know how these actions impact their privacy and data security, as well as what actions TikTok is taking to keep our kids safe from online and offline harms," Rodgers said. "We've made our concerns clear with TikTok. It is now time to continue the committee’s efforts to hold Big Tech accountable by bringing TikTok before the committee to provide complete and honest answers for people."

When asked about a potential country-wide ban on TikTok, Biden simply said, "I'm not sure. I know I don't have it on my phone."

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