BILL: Banning TikTok - The RESTRICT Act - S.686
Contact Your Reps: Do you support a ban on TikTok?
Updated - April 18, 2023
- The political difficulties of banning TikTok are becoming more evident to lawmakers.
- TikTok's valuation is private but is estimated at over $40 billion, which makes it unlikely that Washington will find an American buyer for the app.
- Antitrust laws would rule out Meta and Google from making an offer on the app.
- Florian Ederer, an economics professor at Yale University, said that tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft:
"[A]lready have plenty of antitrust problems. They don’t want any additional ones.”
“I don’t really care what Congress writes, or what the administration writes. They’re not going to ban TikTok. They can ban financial transactions, or they can try to force divestiture. But they don’t have the ability to ban TikTok itself.”
“All roads lead to court. ByteDance has tons of money, they’ll hire an army of lawyers. And this will be fought out.”
- Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), the chair of the House Select Committee on China said:
“Time is not on our side. Every day that passes is a day that we have not taken action on this critical issue. And I think TikTok is trying to wait out the clock.”
- Experts believe that Washington's case against TikTok could also run afoul of the First Amendment.
Updated - April 5, 2023
- TikTok creators from a wide range of industries continue to voice opposition to a potential Congressional ban on the popular social media app.
- The culinary magazine Bon Appétit recently wrote in TikTik's defense:
"For budding chefs and food creators, the app has been vital for their career. They’re worried about what would happen if a ban becomes reality."
Updated - March 28, 2023
- TikTokers are flooding Washington, D.C., and the platform, urging Congress not to ban TikTok.
- Users are adding the hashtags #tiktok #tiktokban #unitedstates #politics #bills686
Updated - March 22, 2023
- Over a dozen countries have introduced full, partial, or government sector bans on TikTok due to growing security concerns.
- The U.K. and New Zealand last week announced measures to block TikTok from government devices because of security considerations.
- British news outlet BBC advised staff to delete the app from their devices unless they needed the app for marketing or advertising purposes.
- Multiple colleges in the U.S. are banning TikTok from their local Internet networks, citing security concerns.
Updated - March 16, 2023
- The Biden Administration's Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has warned TikTok that it could be banned if its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, does not sell its stake in the U.S. version of the app.
- TikTok said it will continue to invest in data security efforts, like Project Texas, with software company Oracle to separate its U.S. operations from its Chinese division and to store all U.S. user data in the U.S.
- It is not clear what the divestment will look like because a large percentage of ByteDance's shares are owned by global investment firms.
- In 2020, The Trump Administration threatened to ban TikTok if it didn't sell to a U.S. company.
Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act - S.686
- The bipartisan bill was introduced by twelve senators. It was led by Mark Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and John Thune (R-SD)
- It it co-sponsored by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Susan Collins (R-ME), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Mitt Romney (R-UT).
- House and Senate: Not yet voted
- President: Not yet signed
- TikTok Chief Executive Shou Zi Chew is due to appear before Congress on March 23.
- The bill would give the administration the capacity to ban Chinese-owned TikTok and any foreign-based technologies that pose a risk to national security.
- The White House backed the legislation which would create a formal process for the government to “deter, disrupt, prevent, prohibit, investigate, or otherwise mitigate” potentially dangerous technologies.
- The bill would require Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to identify and address foreign threats to information and communications technology products and services.
What's in the bill?
Enables the Commerce Department to impose restrictions or ban technologies
- The restrictions would apply to apps, technologies, or services that pose a risk to national security.
- This could also mean that American companies, including app stores like Apple and Google, could be forced to cut ties with certain apps.
- Unlike the earlier House bill, Warner’s Senate measure creates a framework for punishing foreign companies that pose a risk to U.S. security.
Reflects growing concern over TikTok data privacy
- TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance and is used by 100 million Americans.
- There has been growing concern that American data could be compromised or shared with the Chinese government.
- TikTok rejects spying accusations and said it has spent more than $1.5 billion on data security efforts.
Would enable heightened monitoring of certain countries
- While the bill has a broad application, it does enable a focus and heightened monitoring of certain countries, which include China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela.
- The bill also provides the Commerce secretary with a handful of lesser tools to mitigate risky transactions, like the ability to force companies to divest services.
Comes a week after a vote on the DATA Act, which would enable Biden to sanction TikTok if user data was leaked
- The RESTRICT Act comes a week after the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted on a separate measure to restrict access to TikTok, entitled the Deterring America’s Technological Adversaries Act, or DATA Act.
- The DATA Act would empower Biden to sanction or ban TikTok if the administration finds that it shared U.S. user data with the Chinese government.
"[It] would strengthen our ability to address discrete risks posed by individual transactions, and systemic risks posed by certain classes of transactions involving countries of concern in sensitive technology sectors."
“Today, the threat that everyone is talking about is TikTok, and how it could enable surveillance by the Chinese Communist Party, or facilitate the spread of malign influence campaigns in the U.S."
"[A] U.S. ban on TikTok is a ban on the export of American culture and values to the billion-plus people who use our service worldwide."
Do you support a ban on TikTok?
— Emma Kansiz & Josh Herman
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People have no idea how their data is being used against them and there is a whistleblower saying the company is lying to the US about its data collection and use.
This is not a personal rights issue, it's a national security issue. And I wouldn't be far behind on throwing the American companies under the bus as well. Trying to get companies to do better, it's too late for all that. We need to follow the European model and enact internet laws.
In 2022 TikTok killed zero children.
In 2022 guns injured 1300 children and killed 300 under the age of 11.
Let's see what's the biggest problem here? The biggest problem is that Republicans Wusses. They will jump right on the bandwagon of some thing that means less than nothing but when it comes to really doing something about a problem you can't find them. That's the Republican party the do-nothing party.
Montana becomes the 1st US state to ban Tik Tok beginning 1-1-24 when mobile app stores will be prohibited from offering TikTok to users with a penalty of $10,000 for each violation and an additional $10,000 fee for each day the violation continues.
27 states and the US Government have banned Tik Tok on government devices but this is the 1st time it's been banned on all devices and a test of the legal cases that are sure to be filed and expected to be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court,
"The bill was passed by the state House in a 54–43 vote and now heads to Gov. Greg Gianforte's desk. If Gianforte signs it into law, Montana will become the first state to ban the app outright. (Both the federal government and many states, including Montana, have already forbidden the app on government devices.)"
"The legislation, which would take effect on Jan. 1, 2024, prohibits mobile app stores from offering TikTok to users and enacts penalties of $10,000 for each violation and an additional $10,000 fee for each day the violation continues."
"We’re under no illusions that this is not going to get challenged,” Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen told the New York Times in a recent interview. “I think this is the next frontier in First Amendment jurisprudence that’s probably going to have to come from the US Supreme Court. And I think that’s probably where this is headed.”"
I support National Security & problem solving. Why can't a US based company create their own Tik Tok? Problem solved.
I don't use TikTok, so I don't really care.
I am concerned about its seeming effects on young users, since apparently the algorithms work differently in the USA than they do in China where its' owned and programmed. That makes me think maybe banning it would be a good thing.
Since I'm not using it, I'm not concerned about whether it's monitoring my data. However, I can see that's a concern for some.
The Congress and President have every right to ban a private company for any reason so long as their constituents approve. I guess we'll see what happens.
Pinduoduo, a Chinese shopping app founded in 2015 with 3x the user base and market valuation of eBay, found to have many security problems and has been suspended from the Google App Store.
According to cybersecurity researchers, it can bypass users' cell phone security to monitor activities on other apps, check notifications, read private messages and change settings, and once installed, hard to remove.
"November 2022, researchers at Google’s Project Zero warned about active attacks on Samsung mobile phones which chained together three security vulnerabilities that Samsung patched in March 2021, and which would have allowed an app to add or read any files on the device."
"On Feb. 28, 2023, researchers at the Chinese security firm DarkNavy published a blog postpurporting to show evidence that a major Chinese ecommerce company’s app was using this same three-exploit chain to read user data stored by other apps on the affected device, and to make its app nearly impossible to remove. DarkNavy likewise did not name the app they said was responsible for the attacks"
"On March 3, 2023, a denizen of the now-defunct cybercrime communityBreachForums posted a thread which noted that a unique component of the malicious app code highlighted by DarkNavy also was found in the ecommerce application whose name was apparently redacted from the DarkNavy analysis: Pinduoduo."
"On March 4, 2023, e-commerce expert Liu Huafang posted on the Chinese social media network Weibo that Pinduoduo’s app was using security vulnerabilities to gain market share by stealing user data from its competitors. That Weibo post has since been deleted."
"On March 7, the newly created Github account Davinci1010 published a technical analysisclaiming that until recently Pinduoduo’s source code included a “backdoor,” a hacking term used to describe code that allows an adversary to remotely and secretly connect to a compromised system at will. That analysis includes links to archived versions of Pinduoduo’s app released before March 5 (version 6.50 and lower), which is when Davinci1010 says a new version of the app removed the malicious code"
"While many apps collect vast troves of user data, sometimes without explicit consent, experts say e-commerce giant Pinduoduo has taken violations of privacy and data security to the next level."
" TelAviv-based cyber firm Check Point Research, Delaware-based app security startup Oversecured and Hyppönen's WithSecure conducted independent analysis of the 6.49.0 version of the app,"
"The researchers found code designed to achieve "privilege escalation": a type of cyberattack that exploits a vulnerable operating system to gain a higher level of access to data than it's supposed to have, according to experts."
"Our team has reverse engineered that code and we can confirm that it tries to escalate rights, tries to gain access to things normal apps wouldn't be able to do on Android phones"
"The app was able to continue running in the background and prevent itself from being uninstalled, which allowed it to boost its monthly active user rates, Hyppönen said. It also had the ability to spy on competitors by tracking activity on other shopping apps and getting information from them, he added."
"The app deployed a method that allowed it to push updates without an app store review process meant to detect malicious applications, the researchers said."
"They also identified in some plug-ins the intent to obscure potentially malicious components by hiding them under legitimate file names, such as Google's."
"According to Toshin, the exploits allowed Pinduoduo access to users' locations, contacts, calendars, notifications and photo albums without their consent. They were also able to change system settings and access users' social network accounts and chats, he said."
"Such a technique is widely used by malware developers that inject malicious code into applications that have legitimate functionality,"
"Pinduoduo has not yet responded to requests for comment. Pinduoduo parent company PDD Holdings told Reuters Google has not shared details about why it suspended the app."
I fully oppose the restrict act as a Republican voter who vote for republicans like yourself s in the state of Iowa I want to NOT SUPPORT THIS HORRIBLE BILL!!
Significant concerns. Instead of passing this broad and overreaching bill, Congress should limit the opportunities for any company to collect massive amounts of our detailed personal data, which is then made available to data brokers, U.S. government agencies, and even foreign adversaries, China included. Congress should solve the real problem of out-of-control privacy invasions by enacting comprehensive consumer data privacy legislation
I urge you to vote NO
TikTok is free speech. As far as "spying" on us, so does every other app, government agency, etc. TikTok is free speech.
I don't like Tik Tok, but this bill is a pure power grab.
Its wrong and invading our privacy
Why when our own govt can spy so easily on us already?!?!?
This is an infringement on the 1st amendment
This Bill is an infringement on the 1st amendment
TikTok should be banned due to concerns over data privacy and national security. These concerns stem from the fact that TikTok is owned by a Chinese company called ByteDance, which could potentially allow the Chinese government to access data on US users. Additionally, there are concerns that TikTok could be used for disinformation or propaganda campaigns. Some countries, such as India and Pakistan, have already banned TikTok for these reasons.
I don't support a Tik Tok ban but would support much stronger legislation for all of social media. Social media should operate under the system as that governing newspapers, magazines and broadcast networks
Please do not pass this bill. Privacy is a sovereign right. You have no right intruding as such.
Oppose the new bill forbidding kids access to social media apps, either it's just bullshit or requires everyone to provide ID to get online. Providing IDs is unacceptable.
This act goes far beyond banning TikTok and instead allows the government to completely invade our lives. Not since the Patriot Act have we seen such BS. No!
Tik Tok, like Fox entertainment (News), will eventually have to answer for their product, what they produce and why. If it is not for the good of society, it's a house of cards, a web of deceit and it will fail, Time, history and truth will win!
Fox can not afford to have a loose cannon on air digging a deeper hole!
I see no value in TicTok that is worth the risk of compromising American data and security. Ban sites that put American values and security at risk, domestic or foreign. AND take immediate action against any elected official who does not support American Data and information security. Thank you, from our children who want a safe, strong America.
This has nothing to do with the TikTok being banned but it's equally as stupid, what are rednecks going to do without Bud Light? L O L. They wouldn't drink anything else!
The Chinese are after all our youth! Stop the bleeding.
While I'm no fan of TikTok, this Bill has almost nothing to do with the app. This is legislation introduced by Sen. Mark Warner, one of the most corrupt Senators in the chamber. He was a spearhead of the Russia Collusion lie against President Trump. In a nutshell, this Bill would criminalize any and all political descent of national elections. It would also lay the framework to manipulate voting in a major way. It's evil and we should all oppose it vigorously.
Thier are items in this bill that I don't not agree with and feel that this bill is a governmental overreach. There have been breaches in Americans data from American companies and Meta.
As an American, I have the right to choose where I consume entertainment, and information.
I have not used tik tok but our security our electric devices is already weak without China