TikTok ban: Bipartisan bill would let Commerce secretary ban app – USA TODAY

A new bipartisan bill would grant the Secretary of Commerce power to target tech companies based in foreign adversary nations, opening the door for a nationwide ban on China-based TikTok. 
“The Chinese Communist Party has proven over the last few years that it is willing to lie about just about everything,” said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., who introduced the bill alongside Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. “That likely won’t end with TikTok, which is why it’s important to establish a holistic and methodical approach to the challenges that are posed by technology from foreign adversaries.”
Though TikTok is in the limelight now, the lawmakers indicated that the bill seeks to establish an “overarching framework to evaluate foreign technology threats.” The bill doesn’t mention TikTok by name.
Acknowledging that the app is used by some 100 million Americans each month, Warner said the legislation would direct the Commerce secretary to coordinate with the National Intelligence director to provide declassified information about why TikTok and other technologies pose risks. 
“This is a popular app,” said Warner who chairs the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “I think it’s going to be incumbent upon the government to show its cards as to how this is a threat.” 
The six countries classified as foreign adversaries are China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba.
The White House on Tuesday indicated that the Biden administration is supportive of the bill; National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan urged Congress to “act quickly to send it to the President’s desk” in a statement. 
Twelve senators from both parties signed onto the bill.
The Biden administration and lawmakers from both parties have expressed concern that the Chinese Communist Party could gather information about American customers through TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, or that it could be used to spread misinformation.
TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter told USA TODAY in a statement that a ban of the app would equate to a “ban on the export of American culture and values to the billion-plus people who use our service worldwide.”
“We appreciate that some members of Congress remain willing to explore options for addressing national security concerns that don’t have the effect of censoring millions of Americans,” Oberwetter said.
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House adopted similar legislation
The legislation is similar to a bill introduced last month by House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, which would expand Biden’s ability to crack down on software applications deemed a national security threat.
McCaul’s bill advanced through the Foreign Affairs Committee last week after a 24-16 vote along party lines. New York Rep. Gregory Meeks, the top Democrat on the committee, indicated Democrats would not oppose all measures against TikTok, but that the specific bill “bites off more than it can chew.”
The Biden administration is also hardening its stance against TikTok, confirming last week that it has “concerns” about the app. The White House moved to ban TikTok from all government-issued devices last month, giving federal agencies 30 days to delete the app.


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