WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- The White House has backed legislation that would give the administration the power to ban Chinese-owned video app TikTok and other foreign-based technologies if they pose national security threats.
- The bill, introduced by a dozen senators, gives the Commerce Department the ability to impose restrictions up to and including banning TikTok and other technologies that pose national security risks.
- TikTok has come under increasing fire over fears user data could end up in the hands of the Chinese government, undermining Western security interests.
The White House has endorsed a bill introduced by a group of senators that would give the administration new powers to ban Chinese-owned video app TikTok and other foreign-based technologies if they are deemed to pose national security threats.
The legislation, led by Democratic Senator Mark Warner, who chairs the Intelligence Committee, and Republican Senator John Thune, would grant the Commerce Department the ability to impose restrictions up to and including banning TikTok and other technologies that pose national security risks. The bill would also apply to foreign technologies from China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba.
TikTok has been accused of collecting user data and potentially sharing it with the Chinese government, which has raised concerns about national security risks. In response, the bill would require Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to identify and address foreign threats to information and communications technology products and services.
However, Raimondo’s office declined to comment on the bill. TikTok responded to the proposed legislation, stating that 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.”
The bipartisan bill was praised by White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who said it would “strengthen our ability to address discrete risks posed by individual transactions, and systemic risks posed by certain classes of transactions involving countries of concern in sensitive technology sectors.”
Sullivan called on Congress to act quickly to pass the legislation. Meanwhile, TikTok Chief Executive Shou Zi Chew is set to appear before Congress on March 23.