The White House said on Wednesday that the Chinese-owned app TikTok is a “potential national security risk.”
Responding to a question about whether US President Joe Biden believes TikTok is a threat to national security, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “Well, we have said we have concerns. We have concerns about this. And so, we’ve called on Congress to act, including — as I mentioned earlier, just a moment ago — China, how China is trying to protect Americans’ privacy as it is trying to collect as much as it can, which may present a national security risk”, at a press briefing.
This comes after the White House gave federal agencies 30 days on Monday to purge TikTok from all government-issued equipment. “So, yes, we have concerns about that. And — and, look, we’re going to continue — again, to call on Congress. I just laid out the president’s unity agenda and what he wants to do, as well as the actions that he wants to take from the executive branch with his authority. And so, we’re going to continue to hammer that out,” he added.
Earlier, Congressional legislation passed in December banned the popular video-sharing app from federal government equipment and systems amid concerns TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, could be allowing the Chinese Communist Party access to user data, according to reports.
Responding to President Biden having no legal mechanism to ban TikTok, the press secretary said, “I’m not going to go into the specifics of what legal power he has to do or not do that.” What I’m saying is — and we’ve been very clear that TikTok, you know, creates a problem and a problem. And so, we have concerns about it as it relates to Americans’ data—Americans collecting data and a potential national security risk. And we’ve been very, very clear on that.”
Meanwhile, the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted on Wednesday to approve a bill that would give President Joe Biden the authority to ban TikTok in the United States, despite objections from some lawmakers and advocates who say the measure would allow online speech that could inhibit freedom, according to the news.
The Deterring America’s Technological Adversaries Act, or the DATA Act, aims to create a legal framework that would allow the executive branch to ban TikTok and other apps owned by Chinese companies.
The bill, introduced Friday by committee chairman Mike McCaul, R-Texas, would allow President Biden or any future president to veto sanctions, including potential sanctions, before moving quickly through the committee process. against any company that “knowingly provides or may transfer” sensitive personal data” to any foreign person or company that is “… subject to the jurisdiction or direction of China.”
“Make no mistake, TikTok is a national security threat. It allows the CCP to manipulate and monitor its users while gobbling up their data to be used for their malign activities. Anyone with TikTok downloaded on their device has given the CCP permission and a back door to all their personal information.