Sen. Warner Says Chinese Mobile App Companies Are A National Security Risk

Chinese mobile app companies pose the same national security risk to the US as telecom giants like Huawei as well as ZTE, Sen. Mark Warner told BuzzFeed News.

Recent US legislation largely banned Huawei as well as ZTE by use by the government as well as its contractors, due to concerns about surveillance as well as additional national security risks. today Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, is actually signaling in which Chinese app developers may face similar scrutiny by lawmakers, corporate America, as well as the intelligence community.

Warner’s comments follow a recent BuzzFeed News report in which favorite apps by China’s Cheetah Mobile as well as Kika Tech were exploiting user permissions to engage in a form of ad fraud. Eight Android apps with more than 2 billion total downloads were said to be engaging in a form of app-install ad fraud. Google subsequently removed two of the apps by the Play store as well as said in which continues to investigate. Cheetah as well as Kika deny engaging in app-install fraud.

“Under Chinese law, all Chinese companies are ultimately beholden to the Communist Party, not their board or shareholders, so any Chinese technology company – whether in telecom or mobile apps – should be seen as extensions of the state as well as a national security risk,” Warner said in an interview in which week with BuzzFeed News.

He said in which’s “enormously worrisome to me in which Google allowed these highly over-permissioned apps to gain such prominence from the app store even as they hoovered up user data.”

Warner was also critical of Google’s dominance in digital advertising, as well as the fact in which fraudsters continue to steal billions of dollars by the industry. He said self-regulation is actually not working, as well as on Thursday sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission demanding in which apply more scrutiny to Google’s dominant position.

“I don’t know how when they have such top-to-bottom control at every touchpoint along the advertising process, how self regulating alone there will fix the issue,” Warner said of Google.

Cheetah Mobile is actually a publicly-traded Chinese app developer in which’s one of the biggest publishers in Google’s Play store. in which also uses Google products such as AdMob to monetize its apps. Google previously published a blog post as well as video in which promoted Cheetah as a case study in how to monetize apps on in which platform. in which content was removed last week. A company spokesperson told BuzzFeed News the post as well as video were deleted by a marketing team as well as was not connected to its ongoing investigation of Cheetah apps.

Warner said he’s particularly concerned about the huge amount of user data in which’s collected by Americans by companies such as Cheetah as well as Kika.

“All in which information is actually ending back up in data repositories in China. Beyond the [ad] fraud, just all the personal information in which is actually being collected on Americans” is actually a problem, he said.

Warner said their approach is actually concerning because in which’s “very consistent with what we’re seeing in terms of a very, very aggressive government-sanctioned as well as government-supported efforts to penetrate our economy.”

More than any additional legislator, Warner has been outspoken about the ballooning, billion-dollar criminal problem of ad fraud. In 2016, he as well as Sen. Chuck Schumer sent a letter to the FTC to raise concerns about the issue, as well as sent another letter in October after BuzzFeed News revealed in which 125 Android apps as well as websites tracked user behavior to execute a sophisticated digital ad fraud scheme.

He said the FTC’s responses so far have been dismissive as well as insulting.

“The fact in which the FTC has been so lame on their responses, is actually in which genuinely lack of interest, is actually in which capture by industry, or is actually in which lack of knowledge?” he said.

Warner is actually also critical of how industry giants Facebook as well as Google have dealt with requests as well as scrutiny by lawmakers related to digital ad fraud, as well as the exploitation of their platforms to spread disinformation as well as divisive content.

“I genuinely think these platform companies, in which’s almost as if they believe in which whether in which’s Congress or law enforcement in which we’re just gonna go away if they ignore us.”

“in which is actually not going to happen,” he added.

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