A multi-agency government panel on Thursday vowed to clamp down on data security risks stemming from foreign-linked business activity, as TikTok’s CEO sought to stave off a nationwide ban during a three-hour-long congressional hearing.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which is charged with reviewing foreign investment deals for national security implications, did not address or name TikTok specifically.

But in a statement, the Treasury Department — the US agency that chairs CFIUS — warned that it “will not clear any transaction unless it determines there are no unresolved national security concerns.”

“Broadly speaking, some transactions can present data security risks — including providing a foreign person or government with access to troves of Americans’ sensitive personal data as well as access to intellectual property, source code, or other potentially sensitive information,” a Department spokesperson said. “CFIUS, on a case-by-case basis, will ensure the protection of national security, including to prevent the misuse of data through espionage, tracking, and other means that threaten national security.”

For more than two years, CFIUS and TikTok have been negotiating on a possible deal that might address US security concerns and allow the app to continue operating in the United States.

That lengthy process has prompted lawmakers to pressure the Biden administration to hurry up, and some have introduced legislation to ban TikTok. Since then, CFIUS has threatened TikTok with a ban unless the company’s Chinese owners sell their shares in the company.



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