The US House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, has announced that lawmakers plan to move forward with a bill that would require federal employees to delete the TikTok app from their government-issued devices. The proposed legislation follows concerns that the app, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, poses a security risk due to the Chinese government’s potential access to user data. The bill is expected to be introduced next week and has bipartisan support. It is part of a broader effort by the US government to address national security concerns related to Chinese-owned technology companies.
TikTok has faced scrutiny from US lawmakers and regulators for several years due to concerns about the app’s potential to share user data with the Chinese government. In 2020, former President Donald Trump threatened to ban the app in the US, citing national security concerns. However, the ban was never fully implemented, and the app remains popular among US users.
The proposed legislation would not only require federal employees to delete TikTok from their government-issued devices but would also prohibit the app’s installation on any federal devices going forward. It would also require federal agencies to conduct risk assessments of any other apps that could pose a national security threat.
The bill has bipartisan support in Congress, with both Democrats and Republicans expressing concern about the app’s ties to China. Earlier this month, the Biden administration took steps to address concerns about Chinese-owned technology companies by adding seven firms, including the Chinese search engine Baidu, to a US investment blacklist.
ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, has repeatedly denied allegations that it shares user data with the Chinese government. The company has also taken steps to distance itself from China, including appointing an American CEO and creating a separate entity for its US operations.
The proposed legislation is part of a broader effort by the US government to address national security concerns related to Chinese-owned technology companies. The issue has become increasingly contentious in recent years, as the US and China engage in a broader geopolitical rivalry.