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20 Dec, 2022 12:56

Anti-TikTok measure added to US spending bill

Legislators want to bar the app from government-owned devices
Anti-TikTok measure added to US spending bill

US senators included a proposal to ban federal government employees from using the Chinese-owned TikTok app on state-owned devices in a major spending bill on Tuesday.

The legislation, which is expected to be voted on this week, is an omnibus bill intended to fund a vast array of government operations, according to Reuters.

TikTok’s parent company is Beijing-based ByteDance. The bill orders the government to devise “standards and guidelines” for federal agencies “requiring the removal of [TikTok] from information technology.” 

The move comes after the US Senate voted last week to bar government employees from using the app on state-owned devices. Josh Hawley, a Republican senator from Missouri, who spearheaded the bill, described TikTok as “a Trojan Horse for the Chinese Communist Party.” 

Hawley insisted that the app is “a major security risk to the United States, and until it is forced to sever ties with China completely, it has no place on government devices.” More than a dozen US states have already blocked or restricted access to TikTok from government computers.

In a statement in October, TikTok denied allegations that the app was being used to target US citizens, including government officials and journalists. The company said the app does not collect “precise GPS location information from US users.”

Last month, the US banned the importation and sale of equipment made by Chinese telecommunications giants Huawei and ZTE, video surveillance companies Dahua and Hikvision, as well as radio systems maker Hytera, citing security concerns. Beijing denied that the companies were being used for spying, saying at the time that it always encourages Chinese corporations to follow local laws when operating abroad.