TikTok’s security issues have followed it since 2020 when ByteDance, its owner had to divest it but those fears have followed up with the Biden administration in the U.S.
In a bipartisan move, lawmakers in the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee voted earlier today to give President Joe Biden the power to not only ban TikTok but other Chinese apps that pose security risks in America.
TikTok which had over 100 million users in America had been prohibited to be used on federal devices. The EU also banned TikTok from being installed on employee work devices and suggested removing the app from their personal devices as well.
There have been concerns that the Chinese government could be using the app to collect users’ data and be used for malicious intent including surveillance.
The bill(H.R. 1153) was sponsored by Michael McCaul(R), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman and won by 24 to 16 in terms of votes aims to give Biden the ability to impose a ban on the app under International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).
“This is a protection of privacy, it’s a protection from a foreign adversary, it’s a protection of our children,” said the Texas Republican.
Despite some opposition from some Democrats, McCaul added that very high-level officials in the Biden administration and his democratic colleagues are very supportive of the ban.
TikTok and its owner ByteDabnce are named in the bill which wants the Biden administration to penalise the companies if they(the administration) find that ByteDance shared TikTok user data with foreign companies working with the Chinese government.
The proposed bill wants to restrict TikTok operations in the country
“A U.S. ban on TikTok is a ban on the export of American culture and values to the billion-plus people who use our service worldwide. We’re disappointed to see this rushed piece of legislation move forward, despite its considerable negative impact on the free speech rights of millions of Americans who use and love TikTok,” said TikTok in a statement.
Tech critics have expressed concern that if people are panicking over TikTok, then those data privacy concerns should be expressed on other apps as well(Us or international).
Banning TikTok won’t stop other social media apps from collecting the same data which is sold to data brokers that can still be bought by the Chinese government or literally anyone. Also, there’s no evidence that TikTok has been filling American teens with propaganda as claimed – Fox News and other right-wing media already do that and they haven’t been banned.
This bill is just a performative solution when there’s a huge problem out there waiting to be fixed when it comes to consumer protection including proper regulations on the data broker market and strict online privacy legislation laws.