China-Based Servers Hamper Criminal Investigations, Data Access: US Attorney

With US companies using servers in China to store customer data, it has become increasingly difficult for US authorities to access this information for criminal investigations. “By moving data to the PRC, service providers are increasingly putting evidence of crimes beyond the reach of prosecutors and agents,” said Carolyn Pokorny, Assistant United States Attorney in Brooklyn.

Pokorny made the statement at a recent cybersecurity conference held at Fordham University in New York, according to a Reuters report. report.

Beijing can also use its control over electronic data to target dissidents living abroad, Pokorny said.

Abusive access to customer data

According to Pokorny, US service providers told prosecutors they could not respond to certain search warrants because the data sought is held by a China-based entity.

The misuse of electronic data by authorities in Beijing has caused widespread concern and has been widely reported recently.

For example, leaked audio from more than 80 internal TikTok meetings, indicated that China-based employees of ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, repeatedly accessed non-public data about US TikTok users, according to a June report from BuzzFeed News.

Nine US senators have raised concerns with TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew that TikTok and ByteDance are leveraging US consumer data “to surveil Americans and the consequences extend beyond consumer data into the national security space”.

In response to the senators’ concern, TikTok claimed that they did not provide US data to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), but the CCP never asked for it either, according to BuzzFeed’s report.

Members of the Working Journalist of India (WJI) hold placards urging citizens to remove Chinese apps and stop using Chinese products during a protest against China’s Global Times newspaper, in New Delhi on June 30, 2020. TikTok on June 30 denied sharing information about Indian users with the Chinese government, after New Delhi banned the hugely popular app citing national security and privacy concerns. (Prakash Singh/AFP via Getty Images)

Threat to national security

Last March, the Justice Department indicted five people in different ways for harassing, harassing and spying on US residents for the Chinese secret police.

According to the Justice Department statement, the defendants participated in transnational crackdown programs to silence critics of the regime, and even planned a physical attack on a target living in the United States.

Damian Williams, Manhattan’s top federal prosecutor, also spoke at the conference at Fordham University. He encouraged service providers who become aware of criminal activity through the data they host to report it to law enforcement rather than waiting for search warrants.

Wang Xiang contributed to this report.

Mary Hong


Mary Hong has been a contributor to The Epoch Times since 2020. She has reported on human rights issues and Chinese politics.

Mark M. Gagnon