A cross-party cluster of senators on Tuesday exposed the bill they hope would efficiently and totally ban TikTok — along with all future apps that they say might place U.S. national security at risk.
Authored by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner and No. 2 Senate Republican John Thune, the bill would give new powers to the Commerce Department to dissect foreign technology from China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and Cuba, including applications like TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance.
Permanent Ban of TikTok?
The new powers include the ability to disband any company deemed a national security threat. Warner also cited the concerns voiced by many lawmakers that the video-sharing app could be used as a propaganda tool for the Chinese Communist Party.
“The Restrict Act is more than about TikTok and will give us that comprehensive approach,” Warner said in launching the bill.
In a statement, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said, “This legislation would empower the United States government to prevent certain foreign governments from exploiting technology services operating in the United States in a way that poses risks to Americans’ sensitive data and our national security.”
Noting criticisms that the bill would encroach on the privacy of Americans, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, a co-sponsor of the bill said, “One thing a lot worse than having our government infringe on our privacy is having the Chinese Communist Party infringe on our privacy and be able to track us and follow us.”
TikTok has steadily refuted that its China-based parent company is using the app to spy on Americans.
“A US 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,” the company countered.
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