US a step closer to banning TikTok, as White House backs Senate bill
The White House supported legislation by a dozen senators to grant the administration broad authority to outlaw foreign-based technology like the Chinese-owned video app TikTok and others if they pose concerns to national security.
The support strengthens legislative efforts to outlaw the well-known app, which is used by over 100 million Americans and owned by the Chinese corporation ByteDance.
As Reuters reported, Democratic Senator Mark Warner, chair of the Intelligence Committee, stated that the bill would allow the Commerce Department to impose restrictions up to and including a ban on TikTok and other technologies that pose risks to national security. He added that it would also apply to foreign technologies from China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba.”
TikTok said in a statement that any "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," criticizing the measure.
The bill would compel Gina Raimondo, secretary of commerce, to recognize and respond to external risks to goods and services involving information and communications technology. The office of Raimondo declined to respond.
Because of concerns that user data might get into the hands of the Chinese government and jeopardize Western security interests, TikTok has come under growing assault.
Democrats' and Republicans' consensus
Together with 12 senators from both Democrats and Republicans have joined Warner and John Thune in presenting the bill.
Warner argued that the government must be more explicit about the risks TikTok poses to national security. It will be necessary for the administration to demonstrate how this poses a hazard, he added.
Because of concerns that user data might be given to China's government, the strong national security group known as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) unanimously recommended in 2020 that ByteDance divest TikTok.
Data security measures have been under discussion between TikTok and CFIUS for more than two years. TikTok denied espionage claims and claimed to have invested more than $1.5 billion in strict data security measures.
"The swiftest and most thorough way to address any national security concerns about TikTok is for CFIUS to adopt the proposed agreement that we worked with them on for nearly two years," TikTok announced.