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Schumer to TSA: Delete your (TikTok) account

TIKTOK logo. By Anna Markina. Shutterstock ID: 1652709892 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) apparently got the Transportation Security Administration to get off TikTok.

The Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security, TSA's parent agency, have already banned the video-sharing app from federally owned devices, citing risks associated with TikTok's Chinese ownership.

TSA used its TikTok account to share short videos with travelers, but it ended the practice after Schumer's letter.

TSA said in a press statement that "a small number of TSA employees have previously used TikTok on their personal devices to create videos for use in TSA’s social media outreach, but that practice has since been discontinued."

In October 2019, Schumer along with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) wrote to Joseph Maguire, then acting director of national intelligence, and asked for an assessment of the security risks posed by TikTok and other content applications with Chinese ownership that operate in the United States. Risks include the collection of location data, IP addresses, personally identifiable information and other data that is collected by TikTok under its terms of service. Maguire was recently fired by President Donald Trump, reportedly over unhappiness with an election security briefing provided to Congress.

"These videos sure do make you chuckle; they’re creative," Schumer said in a statement. "But China might be laughing at these TSA postings for very different reasons, and that should concern us and it's why I am urging the TSA to find a different platform, and cease its use of TikTok now."

In a letter to TSA Administrator David Pekoske included in a Feb. 23 press release, Schumer wanted to know whether TSA had received a waiver from DHS to use TikTok, if TSA's TikTok account was being administered from government-owned devices and whether TSA had consulted with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on risks associated with the app.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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