Federal lawmakers in the US have again called for a ban to be placed on the use of TikTok on federal devices. This is not the first time such is being proposed. In July 2020, the federal lawmakers had barred federal workers from downloading TikTok on their devices.
The legislation has now been reintroduced by a group of Republicans led by Sen. Josh Hawley. Citing potential national security concerns, the move is aimed at stopping the use of the video sharing app on the devices of federal workers.
“TikTok is a Trojan horse for the Chinese Communist Party that has no place on government devices-or any American devices, for that matter,” Hawley said in a statement per The Hill. “My bill is a straightforward plan to protect American government data from a hostile foreign power, which, less than a year ago, passed the Senate unanimously.”
“TikTok has repeatedly proven itself to be a malicious actor but Joe Biden and Big Tech refuse to take the threat of Chinese espionage seriously. It’s time for Congress to act,” the Senator added
The legislation was also reintroduced in the House by Rep. Ken Buck, who in a separate statement said: the action “is in the best interest of our national security.”
“Chinese-owned apps are required to report user data to the Chinese Communist Party, that is why we cannot trust TikTok with the sensitive data that exists on U.S. government devices,” Buck said. “It is well past time to acknowledge the serious cybersecurity threat that TikTok poses and enact a federal government-wide ban on the Chinese app.”
The House had in July last year voted 336-71 to pass the proposal, offered by Rep. Ken Buck as part of a package of bipartisan amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act. The prohibition according to the report, is expected to extend to members of Congress and congressional staff.
In 2019, Lawmakers had called for an investigation into whether ByteDance-owned TikTok can be used by the Chinese government to collect users’ data or control the content that is being shared. Some senators specifically emphasized on the potential for the app to be used in election meddling and to silence protesters in Hong Kong.
In February last year, TikTok suffered a major blow as the Transportation Security Administration told its employees to stop using the app. This came weeks after the army banned the use of TikTok on government owned phones. TSA told users to stop using the Chinese-owned app to create social media posts for the agency.