March 17, 2020

U.S. Senate Bill intends to ban TikTok from Government work phones

[ by Legal Era News Network ]


The United States is intending to ban TikTok from all of its government smartphone devices.

Senators Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) and Rick Scott (R-Florida) have introduced legislation to further restrict the use of the popular viral video app TikTok on government devices. Soon all Federal government employees would be banned from downloading TikTok on their Smart phones issued by the Government.

The legislation comes in the wake of U.S. lawmakers trying to limit Chinese-built tech software, devices and components for fear that those products have the potential to be leveraged by the Chinese government.

According to Senator Hawley, TikTok is owned by a Chinese company that includes Chinese Communist Party members on its board, and it is required by law to share user data with Beijing. The company even admitted it collects user data while their app is running in the background – including the messages people send, pictures they share, their keystrokes and location data, etc. He further stated, “As many of our federal agencies have already recognized, TikTok is a major security risk to the United States, and it has no place on government devices.”

TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has raised concerns among US officials wary of the company’s connection to the Chinese government. Nearly the entire US military has already banned the app from official devices.

If passed, the ‘No TikTok on Government Devices Act’ would bar employees of the Federal government from installing the short form video app on official phones. It however makes exceptions for research, investigative and national security purposes.

The United States in its latest effort to ban TikTok came a day after TikTok announced a new “transparency center” in order to help quell concerns about spying. Although the company hasn’t disclosed details around how the center will operate, it says that it will allow outside experts to review its policies and the app’s source code.

The bill comes as the Trump administration prepares a draft order that would ban federal agencies from buying foreign-made drones, another effort to curtail Chinese technology in the United States.

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