The political realities that make a nationwide TikTok ban tough

The political realities that make a nationwide TikTok ban tough
a TikTok logo is displayed on an iPhone

A TikTok brand is displayed on an iPhone. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Photos

The U.S., Canada, and quite a lot of European governments in current months have stepped up efforts to impose restrictions on TikTok, ratcheting up stress on the Chinese language-owned app whilst U.S.-China relations have grown more and more strained.

Driving the information: Final week the Home International Affairs Committee superior laws that will give President Biden the ability to ban the app.

Why do governments wish to ban TikTok?

TikTok is owned by the personal Chinese language firm, ByteDance, and far of the scrutiny has revolved across the agency’s relationship with the Chinese language authorities.

The massive image: Critics have voiced concern that TikTok may put U.S. buyer information in danger as a result of Chinese language legislation requires China’s corporations to share data with the federal government, Axios Scott Rosenberg and Sara Fischer write.

Quite a few current revelations have challenged TikTok’s claims that U.S. person information is safe as a result of it’s saved outdoors of China and that the corporate doesn’t adjust to Chinese language authorities content material moderation necessities.

  • FBI Director Chris Wray warned in December that the Chinese language authorities controls the app’s advice algorithm, permitting it to doubtlessly manipulate content material or instigate operations to affect customers, and that the Chinese language authorities maintains the flexibility to gather person information.

Price noting: TikTok does not function inside China. ByteDance as a substitute affords an analogous model of the app, known as Douyin, to Chinese language prospects.

The place is TikTok at present banned?

Greater than 20 U.S. states have banned state workers from utilizing TikTok on government-issued units and quite a lot of U.S. universities have barred it from their WiFi networks.

State of play: India banned TikTok in 2020 over privateness and safety considerations.

  • In December, Taiwan imposed a public sector ban on the usage of Chinese language-made software program on authorities units, which would come with TikTok, per AP.
  • The European Fee, EU Council and Parliament all introduced final month that they’d prohibit employees from having TikTok on their work units.
  • Canada additionally banned the app from government-issued cellular units final month.
  • In Afghanistan, the Taliban ordered a ban on TikTok and the sport PUBG final 12 months, claiming it was essential to preserve youth from “being misled.”
Who helps a nationwide ban?

The Deterring America’s Technological Adversaries Act (DATA Act), superior final week by the Home International Affairs Committee, was launched by committee chair Michael McCaul (R-Texas).

What’s extra: Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has additionally been a proponent of banning TikTok from government-issued units, and in January he launched laws to ban TikTok nationwide.

  • Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, instructed “Fox Information Sunday” that he and Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) will introduce laws this week geared toward creating an method for banning or prohibiting international know-how, similar to TikTok.
  • Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Angus King (I-Maine) reintroduced laws final month that will ban TikTok from working within the U.S.
What authorized challenges would possibly preclude a complete ban?

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) despatched a letter to the Home International Affairs Committee late final month urging members to vote in opposition to the DATA Act, saying it will successfully ban TikTok within the U.S.

  • Calling the laws “obscure and overbroad,” the letter argued that it will violate People’ First Modification rights by infringing on the rights to freedom of expression and affiliation.
  • “Whether or not we’re discussing the information of the day, dwell streaming protests, or ​​even watching cat movies, we’ve a proper to make use of TikTok and different platforms to trade our ideas, concepts, and opinions with folks across the nation and around the globe,” Jenna Leventoff, senior coverage counsel at ACLU, stated in a press launch.
What different international locations are doing

Even international locations that have not but taken steps to ban TikTok have taken steps to probe and prohibit the app.

  • A number of German ministries prohibit the usage of TikTok on official telephones, Politico reported.
  • French information safety watchdog CNIL fined TikTok 5 million euros in January over information safety violations and the French Senate launched an inquiry into the app this month.
  • Estonia has prohibited protection ministry officers from having TikTok on both their work or private units, Politico reported.
  • The U.Okay., Australia and New Zealand are permitting particular person authorities businesses to decide on whether or not employees can use the app on work units, in response to the Wall Avenue Journal.

What to observe: TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is about to testify earlier than the Home Vitality and Commerce Committee on March 23, his first-ever look earlier than a Congressional committee.

Go deeper: TikTok drama underscores rising U.S.-China divide


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