US Senator, Hawley Moves to Ban TikTok for Federal Employees

A Republican Senator, Josh Hawley, who served as the 42nd Attorney General of Missouri, US told reporters on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, that he would be introducing a bill in the legislation to ban TikTok, the Chinese company for video-sharing social networking app.

The proposed bill aimed at banning American federal employees from using the Chinese app, TikTok on their devices in connection with the charges that the company shared users’ data with the Chinese government.

Hawley’s Security Risk Concerns

The 40 years old US senator explained that the proposed ban would include several other government-issued devices and electronic equipment considering the security risk posed by the social networking app.

The latest move of the US senator has escalated the previously tensions between Washington and Beijing over trade and technology transfers. Many Chinese tech companies including Huawei have been under tight scrutiny across the globe since the US-led attacked them by alleging that they shared data to the Chinese government to spy over the countries.

Following a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on big tech’s connections to China, Hawley told reporters, “TikTok is scooping up immense amounts of data and they are sharing it with Beijing; they are required to.” He further warned speaking to reporters, “For federal employees, it really is a no-brainer. It’s a major security risk…do we really want Beijing having geolocation data of all federal employees? Do we really want them having their keystrokes?”

Hawley has not described how he would pursue the introduction of the bill in the legislation but he believed the bill would get support from several lawmakers as they were skeptical of China’s stand on online privacy, security, and free speech.

TikTok’s User in the US

Several US national security and intelligence agencies have put their concerns earlier related to the security risk that the Chinese app on Americans since the short-video making platform has been growing popularity among US teenagers. The officials of TikTok had revealed last year, “the US has 26.5 million monthly active users and about 60% of these users are between the ages of 16 and 24.

In November 2019, the US government had launched a national security review of TikTok’s owner, a Beijing-based tech company, ByteDance Technology Co. (ByteDance) after it acquired a US social app, Musical.ly in a $1 billion deal. The senator has insisted that ByteDance, as a key Chinese company which was governed by Chinese laws.

In response to the allegation, TikTok has earlier defended by claiming that the data of Americans’ users were stored in the US and China had no jurisdiction over these American data.

A spokesman of the company said on Wednesday that the company has recently reached out to several lawmakers to help in the matter. The spokesman added, “While we think the concerns are unfounded, we understand them and are continuing to further strengthen our safeguards while increasing our dialogue with lawmakers to help explain our policies.”

I’m Roshan, a journalist, blogger and music lover. I like covering global news related to finance, business, and technology. Focusing on the collection of true and reliable information, I rely on working by conducting interviews with business leaders and talking to the inside sources of companies.

You can reach out to me at: [email protected]

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