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TikTok banned: US passes bill to restrict the app from government devices

The US Senate voted on Wednesday to prohibit the TikTok app from being used on federal government devices.

Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, introduced the bill last year and it was passed unanimously. Before it becomes law, it must pass the House and be signed by President Joe Biden.

TikTok Banned

Most lawmakers are concerned that the social video app and its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, pose a national security risk because the app collects large amounts of data on its users, including location data, and may share it with the Chinese government. TikTok has consistently denied this allegation.

The bill passed the Senate the day after a separate bill was introduced in both the House and the Senate that would completely ban TikTok in the United States. A growing number of states have taken action against TikTok, prohibiting the app from being used on government devices.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, banned TikTok from state government devices on Thursday, citing new information about the Chinese Communist Party’s involvement with TikTok and the resulting threat to government cybersecurity. The ban was announced in a memo to state agency heads.

According to the memo, the new ban also applies to the messaging apps WeChat and Telegram for “similar threats” identified on those platforms.

In November, FBI Director Christopher Wray stated that TikTok might be utilized to control data collection on millions of users, the recommendation algorithm, which could be used for influence operations if desired, or software on millions of devices.

At the time, a TikTok spokesperson stated that the company was on the right track to fully address all reasonable US national security concerns.

Read more: China to set new rules restricting deep synthesis technology to decrease online misinformation.

States Also Issue Same Restriction

Tik Tok-US-Government-US senate-Banned
The US Senate voted on Wednesday to prohibit the TikTok app from being used on federal government devices.

Alabama, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah are among the other states that have issued bans.

The US Senate passed legislation prohibiting the app in 2020, but it was never passed by the House. Other bills in Congress are pending to regulate or prohibit TikTok and other apps. The app is not allowed on military devices in the United States.

Critics worry that the Chinese government is gaining access to critical information and may be using it to spread false information or propaganda.

Although there has been much discussion regarding whether the Chinese government actively collects data, observers say TikTok would have to comply with any potential requests for data from Chinese security and intelligence because the company’s owner, ByteDance, is a Chinese company.

In 2020, ByteDance relocated its headquarters to Singapore. Earlier this month, spokesperson Jamal Brown told The Associated Press that the bans were primarily fueled by misinformation about our company. 

TikTok Chief Operating Officer Vanessa Pappas, who is based in Los Angeles, has stated that the company protects the data of all American users and that Chinese government officials do not have entry to it.

Read more: Uber faces data breach after hacker leaks confidential company data

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