The House Foreign Affairs Committee has voted to advance legislation that would give President Joe Biden the power to ban TikTok in the US along with other apps owned by Chinese companies. The panel approved the the Deterring America’s Technological Adversaries (DATA) Act in a 24-16 vote. All Republicans on the panel were in favor while every Democrat voted against the bill.
There are several more steps that the bill needs to go through before it becomes law. The full House and the Senate would have to pass it, and Biden would have to sign the bill. Still, it’s a notable step forward for the latest attempt to ban TikTok in the US entirely.
Republican committee chair Michael McCaul introduced the DATA Act (PDF) only last week. McCaul expects the bill to go to a full house vote later this month, .
The legislation would grant the president the power to enact sanctions, including bans, on any company that the Treasury Secretary deems “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. The same applies to a foreign person or company that “is owned by, directly or indirectly controlled by, or is otherwise subject to the influence of China.”
Democratic members of the Foreign Affairs Committee claimed that the legislation was too 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 ranking Democrat member, said.
— TikTokComms (@TikTokComms) March 1, 2023
“A US ban on TikTok is a ban on the export of American culture and values to the billion-plus people who use our service worldwide,” TikTok said in a statement. “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.”
TikTok has faced a growing backlash in recent months over concerns that the Chinese government may obtain user data from the app. Owner ByteDance is headquartered in Beijing, but TikTok claims it doesn’t share data with the Chinese government. Last year, TikTok started moving data it held on US users to Oracle servers based in the country, and claimed it wouldn’t store that information on its own servers.
Nevertheless, the US government has from federally owned devices, this week giving agencies 30 days to make sure it’s gone from phones and tablets they operate. , the , and are also preventing their employees from using TikTok on state-owned devices.
This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/house-committee-approves-bill-that-could-lead-to-a-tiktok-ban-in-the-us-185632229.html?src=rss
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