Tick Tock? Hawley Brings Bill to Ban Chinese-Owned TikTok on Gov’t-Issued Devices — Again

April 15th, 2021 2:53 PM

The Senate has once again considered legislation to protect the federal government from communist Chinese-owned TikTok. 

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) reintroduced the No TikTok on Government Devices Act to ban the TikTok app from official federal devices alongside Sens. Rick Scott, (R-FL), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tom Cotton (R-AR). 

Hawley and Scott previously introduced a different iteration of the bill last year. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate,  but never received a vote in the House, according to The Hill

The new bill would require several executive agencies to “develop standards and guidelines” for “requiring the removal of any covered application from information technology.” A “covered application” would include TikTok “or any successor application or service developed or provided by ByteDance Limited.” ByteDance, with ties to the Chinese communist government, is the parent company of TikTok. 

Hawley called TikTok “a Trojan horse for the Chinese Communist Party that has no place on government devices—or any American devices, for that matter” in a statement. He continued: “TikTok has repeatedly proven itself to be a malicious actor[,] but Joe Biden and Big Tech refuse to take the threat of Chinese espionage seriously. It’s time for Congress to act.”

Rubio added in the same press release that "TikTok poses a potential threat to personal privacy and our national security interests. There is absolutely no reason why this application, which Beijing can use to advance its malign foreign policy initiatives, should be utilized on federal devices.”

Hawley’s concerns about TikTok were certainly not unique. The Biden campaign told its staff to delete the app in August 2020. The U.S. military also banned the app from officially issued phones. Former President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning the app last year, but the government later reversed course

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