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Chinese government tracks Hong Kong protesters on TikTok: lawsuit

According to court filings, a former executive at TikTok’s parent company ByteDance denied access to “divine credentials” on a social media platform that allowed Chinese Communist Party officials to track pro-democracy protesters and civil rights activists in Hong Kong. claimed.

Intao “Roger” Yu, former head of engineering for ByteDance’s U.S. operations, filed the complaint as part of a wrongful termination lawsuit filed in the San Francisco Superior Court. He left the company in 2018.

“This was a backdoor to whatever barriers ByteDance allegedly put in place to protect data from CCP surveillance,” the court filing said.

Yu added that the CCP’s access to “superuser credentials,” also known as “God Credentials,” was “well-discussed among employees at various levels within the company, including senior executives.” .

According to Yu, CCP officials used backdoor access to obtain key data related to Hong Kong protesters, including location information, personal devices, IP addresses, SIM card numbers, and personal communications on TikTok. said to have been monitoring

TikTok officials denied the Chinese government had access to US user data.

The filing further alleges that ByteDance promoted CCP propaganda while suppressing content related to the Hong Kong protests.

“Yu observed that ByteDance downgraded content expressing support for the Hong Kong protests (the ‘Umbrella Revolution’) while promoting content expressing criticism of the Hong Kong protests. ,” the filing said.

wall street journal The first to report on the application.

Legal battle unfolding as TikTok Executives scrambling to avoid blanket ban In the US, lawmakers from both parties say the app raises national security concerns and fails to protect underage users from harmful content.

Hong Kong protests
ByteDance allegedly gave the Chinese Communist Party backdoor access to the personal data of Hong Kong protesters.

When asked for comment, a ByteDance spokesperson said the company intends to “absolutely oppose any alleged baseless claims or allegations in this complaint.”

A spokesperson said Yu had been with the company for less than a year, working on an app called Flipagram that was “discontinued a few years ago for business reasons.”

A ByteDance spokeswoman said: “It is strange that Yu has not raised such allegations in five years since his employment at Flipagram was terminated in July 2018.” “His actions are clearly aimed at getting media attention.”

byte dance
Intao “Roger” Yu was the former Head of Engineering for ByteDance’s U.S. operations.

TikTok has been unavailable in Hong Kong since 2020, when ByteDance-owned companies pulled out of Hong Kong following the enactment of national security laws.

Hong Kong residents will receive an error message when trying to access the app.

As the Post reported last monthYu argued in his lawsuit that the CCP “maintained the highest level of access” to all data held by TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, including information intended for U.S. users.

Yu claims he was expelled from ByteDance because he expressed concern to his boss about ByteDance’s practices.

The former executive also alleged that ByteDance engaged in “brazen illegal activities” such as stealing video content from viral platforms such as Instagram.

tick tock
TikTok could be banned in the US.
NurPhoto (via Getty Images)

Yu’s lawyer, Charles Yun, said his client was “upset after hearing TikTok CEO Shaw Zhi Chu’s recent congressional testimony”, so he could not speak about his experience. He said he made it. The Chinese government has repeatedly denied You may have access to US user data.

“Speaking the truth openly in court is risky, but social change requires the courage to speak the truth,” Chong told the Associated Press. “He is determined to tell his story because it is important to him that public policy be based on accurate information.”

with post wire Chinese government tracks Hong Kong protesters on TikTok: lawsuit

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