Today, senior White House trade and manufacturing advisor Peter Navarro was interviewed by CNBC’s “Squawk Box” regarding President Trump’s recent executive orders on TikTok and WeChat. When asked about the rationale involved in banning TikTok from Chinese government-affiliated ownership, Navarro remarked that the Chinese government has “tools where they collect information that goes back to servers there, that can be used by the Chinese Communist party.” This is in reference to the 2017 Chinese Cyber Intelligence Law that requires any Chinese-owned company to comply with their mass surveillance, collection, and transfer of user data to the government.
Navarro continued to warn about the dangers of their government’s “doctrine of civil fusion,” between their industries and their military, in which both work in tandem to pursue the Communist Party’s long-term goals and directives. He added that “they announced to the world that if you’re a foreign company operating on Chinese soil, you got to give us all your data, okay now what’s wrong with that picture?…TikTok is not an innocent tool.”
These remarks are identical to what ChinaTechThreat cofounder Roslyn Layton has said in several forums, most recently in her interview with SiriusXM radio regarding President Trump’s TikTok-focused executive orders. Dr. Layton emphasized that these Chinese-controlled apps have a history of collecting extensive, sensitive user data that goes back to the government for their social credit system or to gain intelligence on the political leanings of foreign citizens. It is vital for political and policy leaders to continue to make these facts known to the American public so long as these companies operating in the US remain a security risk.