House panel unanimously passes bill with potential to ban TikTok

by | Mar 7, 2024

On Thursday, a significant House committee moved forward with a bill that could potentially result in a nationwide prohibition of TikTok on all electronic devices. This action renews lawmakers' concerns regarding one of the world's most popular social media platforms and underscores lingering apprehensions about TikTok's potential ties to Chinese government surveillance.

The bill, which passed unanimously through the House Energy and Commerce Committee, proposes barring TikTok from U.S. app stores unless the social media giant, with approximately 170 million American users, is promptly separated from its parent company, ByteDance, which has ties to China.

Once enacted, the bill would grant ByteDance a 165-day window, equivalent to a little over five months, to divest TikTok. Failure to comply by the specified date would render it illegal for app store operators like Apple and Google to offer TikTok for download. Additionally, the legislation considers implementing similar restrictions for other apps deemed to be “controlled by foreign adversary companies.”

Introduced earlier this week with bipartisan backing, the bill was spearheaded by Wisconsin Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher, who leads a House select committee on China, and Illinois Democratic Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, the committee's ranking member. The White House and House Speaker Mike Johnson also endorse the legislation, although its fate in the Senate remains uncertain.

During the same session on Thursday, House lawmakers unanimously voted to advance a second bill aimed at restricting US companies from selling Americans' personal data to foreign adversaries.

US officials have highlighted the broad accessibility of US citizens' data as a significant national security concern. Moreover, both the US government and domestic law enforcement agencies are recognized for procuring US citizens' data from commercial data brokers.

Apart from potentially prohibiting app stores from hosting TikTok, the bill could also limit TikTok traffic or content from being supported by “internet hosting services,” which encompasses various industries such as file hosting, domain name server hosting, cloud hosting, and virtual private server hosting.

Source: CNN



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