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Why do US senators want to ban TikTok on government phones?

The bill comes as the Chinese company seeks to reassure US officials.

3 min read

This story originally appeared on Engadget

Why do US senators want to ban TikTok on government phones?
Why do US senators want to ban TikTok on government phones?

All US federal government employees could soon be banned from downloading TikTok on cell phones they have for work. Senators Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) and Rick Scott (R-Florida) introduced a bill that would do exactly that, alleging that China's social media enforcement poses a threat to national security.

If passed, the “No TikTok on Government Devices Act” would prohibit federal government employees from installing the video application on official phones. However, it makes exceptions for the purposes of investigation, investigation and national security.

“TikTok is owned by a Chinese company that includes Communist Party members on its board of directors, and the law requires that it share user data with Beijing,” said Senator Hawley. “The company even admitted that it collects user data while its app is running in the background, including the messages people send, the images they share, their keystrokes, and location data, whatever. Like many Of our federal agencies have already recognized, TikTok is a major security risk to the United States, and it has no place in government devices. ”

TikTok, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance , has expressed concern among US officials who are wary of the company's connection to the Chinese government. Almost the entire US military has already banned the application of official devices.

The latest effort to limit TikTok comes a day after the app announced a new “transparency center” to help allay concerns about espionage. The company has not disclosed details on how the center will work, but says it will allow outside experts to review its policies and the application's source code.

“While we believe the concerns are unfounded, we understand them and continue to further strengthen our guarantees as we increase our dialogue with lawmakers to help explain our policies,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement.

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