CFU Strongly Endorses Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act

March 6, 2024

Dear Members of Congress:

Campaign for Uyghurs (CFU) is writing to you in strong support of the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act. Protecting Americans’ security and privacy from countries of concern must be a priority for Congress. When companies like ByteDance control TikTok, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) can obtain Americans’ sensitive data and manipulate our information environment. CFU strongly endorses this bill and urges Members of Congress to cosponsor the bipartisan legislation to uphold human rights and protect national security. We strongly urge the passage of this bill into law to further Congress’s efforts to support Uyghur human rights. Without it, Uyghurs will continue to be targeted by foreign adversary owned applications like TikTok.

This legislation creates a framework for the President to designate applications controlled by China, Russia, and other foreign adversaries as significant national security concerns, resulting in a process that will incentivize these apps to divest from problematic foreign ownership and control without punishing social media users or censoring free speech. 

In the case of TikTok, the evidence shows unambiguously that ByteDance directly answers to the Chinese authorities with regard to the deployment of digital surveillance tools and enforcement of content censorship. ByteDance has been implicated in various activities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (“Uyghur Region”) where the U.S. Department of State has determined that the CCP’s actions amount to genocide. Internally, ByteDance has demonstrated granular data collection and analysis aimed at understanding and influencing the “cultural temperament” of populations across China. ByteDance’s algorithms on platforms, such as TikTok and its Chinese counterpart Douyin, suppress content depicting the Uyghur plight and criticisms of the Chinese government’s policies in the Uyghur Region and instead disseminate CCP-aligned propaganda. This collusion coincides with the broader strategies of the CCP in the Uyghur Region, which include mass surveillance, forced labor, and internment as well as the government’s global effort to whitewash its crimes.

The Chinese government can use Americans’ sensitive data to track, target, and harm users while facilitating its broader surveillance goals. When they control content recommendation algorithms, they can control the perceived realities of Americans. Such practices, if left unchecked, could pose significant risks to the privacy and security of American users, echoing the concerns already seen in the company’s operations within China. 

This much is clear: critical applications cannot remain under the control of foreign adversaries who use them to threaten our national security. We must protect Americans’ personal data and halt the influence of foreign adversaries. By enacting the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, you can provide a sensible way to ensure the national security risks of TikTok are thoughtfully addressed.

Thank you for your consideration of this critical piece of legislation. 

Sincerely,

Rushan Abbas and Campaign for Uyghurs 

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Campaign for Uyhgurs

We defend the human rights of uyghur people and the free world by exposing and confronting the chinese government's genocide, and empowering uyghur women and youth in the diaspora.

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