U.S. Congress to review TikTok-related legislation to strengthen response to China threat U.S. Congress to review TikTok-related legislation to strengthen response to China threat

U.S. Congress to review TikTok-related legislation to strengthen response to China threat

U.S. Congress to review TikTok-related legislation to strengthen response to China threat

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced two pieces of legislation, the "Protecting Americans from Application Threats Controlled by Foreign Adversaries Act" and the "Protecting Americans' Data from Foreign Adversaries Act." The two bills not only require the Chinese application TikTok, which is suspected of threatening U.S. national security, to be divested from its parent company ByteDance as soon as possible, but also prohibit related data agents from selling sensitive U.S. data to foreign adversaries or entities controlled by foreign adversaries.

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The TikTok (International version of Douyin) application, which attracts young people with short videos, has caused national security concerns in the United States for many years because it is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance.

Mike Gallagher, chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives' Select Committee on the Communist Party of China, top Democratic congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi and a number of cross-party congressmen jointly introduced a bill on Tuesday . The bill, called the "Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act," requires TikTok to cooperate with its Beijing-based parent company ByteDance within six months. Spin off the business within this month or face a U.S. ban.


TikTok later responded to the bill, saying in a statement: "No matter how the sponsors of this bill try to hide it, this is an outright ban on TikTok. This legislation will trample on the First Amendment rights of 170 million Americans and... Depriving 5 million small businesses of the platform they rely on to develop and create jobs."


This Thursday (March 7), the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee also held a hearing on the national security issues posed to the United States by foreign entities represented by TikTok that misuse data. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chairman of the committee, said bluntly at the beginning that TikTok’s extensive operation in the United States has made it an important propaganda tool used by the Chinese Communist Party and used for evil purposes.

“Last March, TikTok’s CEO testified before this committee to answer questions about the threat his company posed to U.S. national security. During the hearing, he was asked multiple times whether ByteDance used information collected from TikTok users for surveillance Americans, his response was, 'I wouldn't call it espionage.'" Rogers said: "TikTok has been caught repeatedly lying about its ties to ByteDance and the extent of the Chinese Communist Party's access to our data. . Their use of this data to weaponize our freedoms and use it against us is over now."

According to the relevant rules of the U.S. House of Representatives, the hearing cannot be held within one week after the notice of participation is issued. However, due to the important issue involving national security interests, the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee made an exception and held a closed-door hearing to consider the above-mentioned bill. In addition to hearing testimony from U.S. intelligence and national security figures, the committee will also consider the "Protecting Americans' Data from Foreign Adversaries Act" jointly proposed by Committee Chairman Rogers and top Democratic congressman Frank Pallone on Tuesday. Protecting Americans' Data from Foreign Adversaries Act).

As one of the most popular social applications in the world, TikTok has about 170 million users in the United States, of which teenagers account for about 35%. In 2017, China's National People's Congress reviewed and passed the National Intelligence Law of the People's Republic of China, requiring Chinese individuals and entities to support national intelligence services, including providing data. This means that ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, cannot refuse to share the U.S. data it obtains with the Chinese government or intelligence agencies. Although TikTok claims to have cooperated with the American company Oracle to store data in the United States and promised not to transmit any data to the Chinese authorities, it still cannot dispel the concerns of the US political circles about data security issues.

Rep. Pallone said before the closed-door hearing: "China's laws allow the Chinese Communist Party to force companies such as TikTok to share data with them, whether these companies want to or not. This means that China has the ability to compromise device security, maliciously access U.S. data, and facilitate Pro-Communist propaganda harms U.S. interests.”

On Thursday morning, a pop-up on TikTok called on a large number of users to call their district legislators and urge them to vote against the App Threat Act to Protect Americans from Control by Foreign Adversaries.

Although Washington has always had a tough stance on TikTok, U.S. President Joe Biden's campaign team created a TikTok account for him last month and posted videos, a move that immediately triggered public criticism. However, President Biden recently signed an executive order authorizing the U.S. Department of Justice to take action to prevent sensitive data such as genetics, biometrics, health, geolocation, and finances from being transferred to data brokers and foreign intelligence agencies of concern, especially China and Russia.

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