Chairs Rodgers and Bilirakis Press China-Based Online Marketplaces on Potential Data Privacy and Human Rights Violations

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), on behalf of subcommittee Republicans, sent a letter to China-based e-commerce companies raising concerns over data privacy and security risks for American users, the counterfeit products flourishing on these platforms, and reports of horrific human rights abuses.  


  • China-based e-commerce marketplaces, like TikTok, TaoBao, Pinduoduo, Temu, Alibaba, AliExpress, and Shein, have recently increased in popularity in the U.S. 
  • The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) requires that all Chinese tech companies allow the CCP to access all user information, raising serious data privacy and security concerns for Americans using these platforms
  • These marketplaces commonly offer “knock off” versions of products, which often undermine intellectual property laws. 
  • Furthermore, reports have alleged that some of the sellers on these platforms may have committed egregious human rights violations, including the use of forced labor and the selling of products, like wigs, that use hair from Uyghur women forced to shave their heads. 


“The rise in popularity of apps and marketplaces like, TikTok, TaoBao, Pinduoduo, Temu, Alibaba, AliExpress, and Shein, has resulted in sharp public scrutiny regarding the business practices of these companies.” 


“Lax policies and practices are leaving American’s data at risk of theft, leading consumers to unknowingly purchase counterfeit goods. In addition to these lax policies and practices, it is important to ensure that supply chains are free of forced labor.” 

The Chairs asked companies to respond to the following questions by January 12, 2024: 

  1. Please outline the steps taken to delete personal data when requested or ordered by a user, the parent of a user who is a minor, or others authorized to make such a request. 
  2. What protections do you have in place to prevent children from spending large amounts of money on your platform? 
  3. What data practices do you require of your third-parties? 
  4. What data practices do you require of your service providers? 
  5. Please individually confirm you are not collecting or compiling the following information: 
  6. Religious beliefs; 
  7. Political opinions; 
  8. Genetic data; 
  9. Biometric data; 
  10. Data concerning health; 
  11. Data concerning racial or ethnic origin; 
  12. Data about minors. 
  13. Similar to ByteDance, does your company have an internal CCP Committee? 
  14. Please document all meetings, communication, or interactions you—or any other senior company executives—have had with members of the Chinese government or the CCP while serving as officers.  
  15. Can you provide a complete software bill of materials for all components and components of the components in the mobile app? Please include the developer information and country of origin for all listed components. 
  16. Where does your company store the signing key for iOS and Android applications? How is access to the signing keys managed, and who are the developers with access to the signing keys for the mobile application? 
  17. Please detail the data security and protections you have to prevent unauthorized access to such signing key. 
  18. How frequently is your mobile app or backend security tested? Are they tested by US personnel? To what security standard are they tested? 
  19. How frequently is user location data transmitted? Within how many feet is this location data measured? 
  20. What compliance procedures do you have in place to ensure compliance with the INFORM Consumers Act
  21. We have heard employees of companies associated with the Chinese government, such as TikTok, disagree with notion that Uyghur people are facing a genocide in the Xinjian region of China. Do you agree that there is a genocide occurring in the Xinjiang region of China? 
  22. Are you aware of the PRC’s persecution of the Uyghur people, including the reports that Uyghur women’s heads have been shaved to be used for products that are shipped into the U.S.? 
  23. Are there products using natural hair that originate in the Xinjiang region available on your e-commerce marketplace? 
  24. Are there any other products that have originated from, or contain components or material that originated from the Xinjiang region? 
  25. Given the human rights abuses occurring in the Xinjiang region, do you require any additional steps or increased scrutiny for products coming from such region?  
  26. If yes, please explain.  
  27. Can you unequivocally state that your supply chain is free of forced labor? 
  28. What steps are you taking to ensure that your supply chain does not include forced labor? 

CLICK HERE to read the full letter to TikTok. 

CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Whaleco Inc. 

CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Alibaba. 

CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Shein.