Senate Unanimously Passes Bill to Ban TikTok on Government Devices
Should the House also pass the No TikTok on Government Devices Act?
by Causes | 8.6.20
What’s the story?
- Before the Senate completed its work on Thursday, it unanimously passed a bill to ban the use of the social media video app TikTok on government-issued mobile devices.
- The Senate’s action comes as the Trump administration weighs an outright ban on the TikTok app, which is headquartered in China and is cited as a national security threat because of concerns that data is funneled to the Chinese Communist Party, which censors content. Several federal agencies ― including the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and State ― have already banned the use of TikTok on government-issued devices.
- TikTok is weighing an investment or acquisition by Microsoft, which might allow it to avoid an outright ban in the U.S. because the change in ownership would result in greater federal oversight of the app.
What would the bill do?
- The No TikTok on Government Devices Act would prohibit federal employees from using TikTok on government-issued devices. The restriction would apply to members of Congress, federal employees & officials, congressional employees, and employees & officers of government corporations. It would include an exception for conducting activities like cybersecurity research.
- It was introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and cosponsored by Sens. Rick Scott (R-FL), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Joni Ernst (R-IA), John Kennedy (R-LA), and Martha McSally (R-AZ).
- Its passage by unanimous consent in the Senate makes it likely the bill will ultimately become law as the House passed companion legislation introduced by Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) on a voice vote as an amendment to a spending package, so it may approve Hawley’s bill in a similar manner when it returns from recess.
- Hawley offered the following statement after the Senate passed his bill:
“In light of all we know, it is unthinkable to me that we should continue to permit federal employees, those workers entrusted with sensitive government data, to access this app on their work phones and computers. I’m encouraged by the bipartisan support we have seen in this body to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable and that includes, by the way, holding accountable those corporations who would just do China’s bidding. And, if I have anything to say about it, we won’t be stopping here.”
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / Anatoliy Sizov)
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