Congress rolls out new bill allowing nationwide TikTok ban
The Tuesday presentation of a bill that would make it simpler for the Biden administration to impose access restrictions on the well-known video-sharing app means that a TikTok ban is now closer than it has ever been.
The legislation would give the secretary of commerce the authority to forbid foreign firms and technologies from operating in the US if they pose a threat to national security, under a bipartisan effort led by Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA). Although TikTok isn’t specifically mentioned in the bill language, the regulation applies to businesses in countries China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela that are competitors.
Following a separate proposal that singled out TikTok, the law was introduced
The measure creates a formal framework for government agencies to “deter, disrupt, prevent, ban, investigate, or otherwise neutralise” services they deem hazardous, as long as they have access to “sensitive personal data” from more than 1 million US citizens. It may entail requiring American businesses, including app store owners Apple and Google, to sever relationships with TikTok or other comparable organisations. The law also gives the secretary of commerce a few more limited authorities to reduce dangerous transactions, such as the power to compel businesses to divest services.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee pushed through a different bill to limit access to TikTok just a few days before the Warner bill’s passage. If the administration found that TikTok shared US user data with people connected to the Chinese government, the Deterring America’s Technological Adversaries Act, often known as the DATA Act, would instruct President Joe Biden to censure or ban the app.
Instead of just focusing on TikTok as a company, Warner’s Senate proposal would establish a system for assessing and sanctioning foreign firms that pose a risk to US security.
TikTok representative Brooke Oberwetter stated that the Warner bill was unnecessary in response. The Biden Administration can approve the deal that was negotiated with CFIUS over two years and that it has spent the last six months reviewing, Oberwetter said in a statement to The Verge on Tuesday. “The Biden Administration does not need additional authority from Congress to address national security concerns about TikTok,” he added.
By separating the majority of its US business from ByteDance, TikTok has proposed
TikTok has always refuted federal investigators’ main concern that it stores US user data in China. Notwithstanding these claims and commitments to decrease safety concerns, the company has been stuck in negotiations with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to stay active in the US for more than three years.
On Monday, a TikTok representative gave a speech on Project Texas, the company’s largest attempt to reduce foreign threats to American data. Under the proposal, most of TikTok’s US activities would be separated from ByteDance, the Chinese parent company. American data traffic would be audited by Larry Ellison’s Oracle.
Later this month, Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of TikTok, is anticipated to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.