US House panel authorizes Biden to ban TikTok

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us house panel authorizes biden to ban tiktok

The US House Foreign Affairs Committee voted along party lines on March 1 to grant President Joe Biden the authority to prohibit the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok. This would be the most stringent US restriction on any social media app.

By a vote of 24 to 16, lawmakers approved the legislation to allow the government new authority to ban the app owned by ByteDance, which is used by over 100 million Americans, and other apps deemed security concerns.

“TikTok is a threat to national security… It is time to act,” said Republican committee chairman and bill sponsor Representative Michael McCaul.

“Everyone who has TikTok installed on their gadget has granted the CCP (Communist Party of China) access to all of their personal data. It’s an eavesdropping balloon in their phone.”

The Democrats rejected the law on the grounds that it was hurried and without proper deliberation and consultation with experts. The measure does not explain precisely how the ban would operate, but it gives Vice President Biden the authority to prohibit any transactions with TikTok, which could bar anyone in the United States from accessing or downloading the app.

Additionally, the law would force Biden to put a restriction on any firm that “may” transfer sensitive personal data to a Chinese-influenced entity.

In recent weeks, TikTok has come under greater scrutiny because to concerns that user information could fall into the hands of the Chinese government, jeopardizing Western security interests.

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Last Monday, the White House directed federal agencies 30 days to remove TikTok from all federal devices and networks. Additionally, more than 30 US states, Canada, and European Union policy agencies have prohibited the installation of TikTok on state-owned smartphones.

The future of the most recent bill is still uncertain, and it must overcome considerable obstacles before becoming law. Before the law can be sent to Vice President Biden, it must be enacted by the whole Democratic-controlled House and US Senate.

A spokesperson for TikTok stated after the vote, “A US ban on TikTok is a ban on the dissemination of American culture and values to the billion people who use our service worldwide.”

The Biden administration did not state if it supported pressing through with the measure or if it believed Biden has the legal authority to ban TikTok at this time.

Karine Jean-Pierre, a spokesman for the White House, stated, “TikTok poses a challenge and a concern in relation to the data of American citizens.”

The ranking Democrat on the committee, Representative Gregory Meeks, stated that he firmly opposes the proposal but understands the concerns over TikTok.

Meeks added that the law would require the administration to censure TikTok and other subsidiaries of TikTok’s parent business.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a key national security body of the US government, unanimously recommended in 2020 that ByteDance divest from TikTok due to concerns that user data could be shared with the Chinese government.

TikTok and CFIUS have been negotiating data security requirements for almost two years. TikTok asserts that it has spent over $1.5 billion on rigorous data security procedures and refutes suspicions of eavesdropping. Meeks desires that negotiations continue.

Meeks stated that the bill’s sweeping limits on data transfers to China would necessitate US penalties against Korean and Taiwanese enterprises who supply Chinese companies with semiconductor chips and other equipment.

The American Civil Liberties Union urged legislators to oppose the bill, characterizing it as a “grave breach of our First Amendment rights.”

McCaul told Reuters following the vote that he anticipates the House will vote on the bill this month.

Shou Zi Chew is scheduled to speak before the US Energy and Commerce Committee on March 23 after meeting with senators on Capitol Hill last month.

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