The measure that would give President Joe Biden the power to put a ban on TikTok and other Chinese-owned applications in the US was approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The panel approved the Deterring America’s Technological Adversaries (DATA) Act by a vote of 24 to 16. All of the panel’s Republicans voted in favor, while all of the Democrats abstained.
TikTok Tries To Avoid Ban
In recent months, TikTok has been under increasing pressure because of worries that the Chinese government would utilize the program to collect user data. Beijing is the location of ByteDance, the app’s owner, although TikTok asserts that it does not share data with the Chinese authorities.
By the summer of last year, TikTok was sending all US data to local Oracle servers. It promised to remove the sensitive data of American consumers from its own servers.
TikTok has been working for years to convince US officials that it is not a threat to national security in an effort to avert a comprehensive ban.
Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of TikTok, will testify before the Energy and Commerce Committee on March 23 to discuss privacy, the app’s effect on kids and its links to China.
Will The Bill Become Law?
Before becoming law, the measure still needs to go through a number of further stages. It would need to be approved by both the House and the Senate and Biden would have to sign it. Only last week did Republican committee head Michael McCaul present the DATA Act.
The US government gave agencies 30 days to make sure that it is not present on any mobile devices they manage. However, several US states, the European Union, Canada, and Quebec have already forbid their employees from using state-owned technology to access TikTok.
The legislation states that any company, ‘knowingly provides or may transfer sensitive personal data of persons subject to United States jurisdiction to any foreign person that is subject to the jurisdiction or direction’ of China would be subject to sanctions, including bans, by the president.
Possible Effects Of A Total TikTok Ban
The proposal, according to Democratic members of the Foreign Affairs Committee, is excessively broad. It would, “damage our allegiances across the globe, bring more companies into China’s sphere, destroy jobs here in the United States and undercut core American values of free speech and free enterprise,” Rep. Gregory Meeks, the senior Democrat member warned.
He proposed the law because it may result in penalties being imposed on companies in Taiwan and Korea that provide Chinese companies with semiconductors and other parts.
TikTok comments on Twitter were bold and direct, “We’re disappointed to see this rushed piece of legislation move forward, despite its considerable negative impact on the free speech rights of millions of Americans who use and love TikTok.”
“Congress must not censor entire platforms and strip Americans of their constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression,” said Jenna Leventoff, senior policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, in a statement.
US Government’s Next Steps
TikTok is used by over 100 million Americans. Republican committee head and bill sponsor Congressman Michael McCaul stated, “Everyone who has the Chinese Communist Party’s TikTok app downloaded on their device has granted the CCP access to all of their personal data.”
Democrats refused to support the measure, stating it needed more time for deliberation and expert input and was hurried.
Before becoming law, the measure still needs to go through a number of further stages. It would need to be approved by both the House and the Senate, and Biden would have to sign it.
Will Americans Lose Access To TikTok?
TikTok denied claims to have invested more than USD 1.5 billion in strict data security measures. The Chinese corporation has been in discussions over data security for more than two years.
The law provides Biden the authority to prohibit all transactions with TikTok, even though it is unclear how the prohibition would be implemented.
Anybody in the United States could thereafter be unable to access or download the app on their phones as a result of this.