A proposal to ban the use of TikTok on government devices backed by a Florida Republican cleared a key U.S. Senate committee on Wednesday.
Back in March, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., threw his support behind U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley’s, R-Mo., proposal making sure federal employees do not have TikTok on their smartphones.
“The State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and TSA have already banned TikTok on federal government devices due to cybersecurity concerns and possible spying by the Communist Chinese government,” Scott’s office noted about the popular app.
“TikTok is owned by a Chinese company that includes Chinese Communist Party members on its board, and it is required by law to share user data with Beijing,” Hawley said. “The company even admitted it collects user data while their app is running in the background – including the messages people send, pictures they share, their keystrokes and location data, you name it. As many of our federal agencies have already recognized, TikTok is a major security risk to the United States, and it has no place on government devices.”
“The use of apps like TikTok by federal employees on government devices is a risk to our networks and a threat to our national security, and I’m proud to join Senator Hawley to put an end to it. We should all be very concerned about the threat of Communist China, and I hope my colleagues will join me to implement this ban immediately and protect our national security,” Scott said when he threw his support to the bill.
U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, are also backing the proposal which was sent to the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The bill cleared the committee on Wednesday without opposition.
“Companies influenced and controlled by the Chinese government, like TikTok, must adhere to the Communist government’s demands to spy, steal user data and censor any content the government wishes. There is absolutely no reason any American should subject themselves to this risk, especially on government devices, which poses a risk to U.S. networks and a threat to national security. I’m proud to work with Senator Hawley and my colleagues on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to put an end to it, and I look forward to the full Senate quickly passing this important bill,” Scott said.
Over in the U.S. House, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Col., has introduced the companion measure and has reeled in more than 30 cosponsors including five Republicans in the Florida delegation: U.S. Reps. Neal Dunn, Matt Gaetz, Ross Spano, Greg Steube and Ted Yoho. The bill is before the U.S. House Oversight and Reform and the House Administration Committees.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.