Pentagon uses China-owned tutoring company that could weaponize military data, GOP lawmakers say

Republican lawmakers are introducing legislation to prohibit the Department of Defense from using a Chinese-owned tutoring service for U.S. military members and their families.

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., and Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., are seeking to ban the use of Tutor.com because they say parent-company Primavera is subject to Chinese law requiring the organization to disclose confidential business and customer data to the Chinese Communist Party. The organization also has ties to ByteDance, which owns TikTok.

“There is no reason the Pentagon should be paying a Chinese-owned service that collects the data of our service members and their families,” Cotton said in a statement. “There are plenty of American companies that offer tutoring services and aren’t subject to the Chinese government.”

COTTON PROBES DOD ON SECURITY RISKS OF CHINESE-OWNED TUTORING COMPANY FOR US MILITARY FAMILIES

Sen. Tom Cotton said, “There is no reason the Pentagon should be paying a Chinese-owned service that collects the data of our service members and their families.”  (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

The legislation, called the Ban Chinese Communist Party Access to U.S. Military Students Act, says the platform collects location data, internet protocol addresses and contents of the tutoring sessions and alleges the U.S. is “paying to expose the private information of members of the United States Armed Forces and their children to the Chinese Communist Party.”

“We cannot allow Communist China to collect an arsenal of data on our service members and their families that can be weaponized against them, posing a grave and unnecessary threat to America’s national security,” Stefanik said.

Rep. Elise Stefanik said, “We cannot allow Communist China to collect an arsenal of data on our service members and their families that can be weaponized against them.”  (Haiyun Jiang/Bloomberg)

Advocacy group Parents Defending Education (PDE) found that at least 100 school districts give students access to the website.

“Tutor.comis the latest – but without a doubt, far from the last –concerning firm with access to student information, and it’s unlikely that most American families would be comfortable with a foreign-owned company maintaining this data,” PDE’s president, Nicole Neily, said. “Parents deserve more control over who is collecting information about their children, because districts are completely asleep at the switch.”

Tutor.com denied the allegations, stating that the company “cannot be compelled to release confidential data to China or any other foreign nation. (Kurt "CyberGuy" Knutsson)

Tutor.com responded to the bill Thursday, denying the allegations.

“This legislation mistakenly assumes that private information of those who use our tutoring services could be transferred to China.Tutor.comis a U.S. company,and U.S. student datastays in the U.S.Primavera does not have—and may not obtain—access to our IT systems, per a U.S. government national security review voluntarily initiated by both parties and conducted by CFIUS when the private equity firm acquiredTutor.com,”Tutor.com told Fox News Digital. “As required by the U.S. government,Tutor.comhas a designated data security officer, who has been vetted and approved by the U.S. government, to continuously monitor and ensure compliance with data-protection measures.Tutor.comalso has two independent directors on our board of directors—also required, vetted, and approved by the U.S. government—whose foremost duty is to ensure that personal data is appropriately safeguarded.”

Fox News’ Brian Flood and Jamie Joseph contributed to this report.

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