Deputy Attorney General nominee Lisa Monaco testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during her confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 9, 2021.

Joshua Roberts | Reuters

A senior Justice Department official on Thursday warned against using the popular short-form video app TikTok because of security concerns stemming from its ownership by Chinese company ByteDance.

“I don’t use TikTok and I wouldn’t advise anyone to because of these issues,” Lisa Monaco, deputy attorney general at the Department of Justice, said at an event on subversive nation-state technologies at Chatham House in London. .

Monaco pointed to what it called “the danger of Chinese companies subjecting themselves to China’s national security laws.”

She said the concern extends to any company doing business in China that could be subject to such rules, requiring them to hand over data to the Chinese government for purported national security purposes.

“There is a reason we should be very concerned,” Monaco said.

The Department of Justice has played a role in evaluating TikTok’s continued operations in the United States through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS. This process will determine whether the US can reach a de-risking agreement with TikTok that can address national security concerns. As of late last year, those discussions had been put on hold due to lingering issues over ownership of the app, according to The Wall Street Journal.

TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Monaco said in prepared remarks that CFIUS is increasingly looking at transactions that could affect data security, cybersecurity and supply chains.

On Thursday, Monaco also announced the launch of a Disruptive Technology Task Force, which will bring together law enforcement officers led by the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Commerce to “strike back against adversaries who try to hijack our best technologies.”

“The bottom line is that China has been very clear that they are trying to shape and carve out the uses and norms around technologies that are advancing … and privilege their interests — those interests that are not aligned with our own,” Monaco said during the meeting. Part of the Q&A event.

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