May 27, 2024

In recent months, lawmakers in the United States, Europe and Canada have tightened restrictions on access to TikTok, the popular short-video app owned by Chinese company ByteDance, citing security threats.

White House tells federal agencies on Monday They have 30 days to remove the app from government devices. Canada The European Union’s executive arm also recently banned official devices from using the app.

A House committee on Wednesday backed more drastic measures, vote advance Legislation that would allow President Biden to ban TikTok on all devices across the country.

That’s why pressure is mounting on TikTok, which says it’s used by more than 100 million Americans.

It all comes down to China.

Lawmakers and regulators in the West are increasingly concerned that TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, could hand sensitive user data, such as location information, into the hands of the Chinese government. They point out that the law allows the Chinese government to secretly request data from Chinese companies and citizens for intelligence-gathering purposes. They also worry that China may use TikTok’s content recommendations to spread misinformation.

TikTok has long denied such allegations and has sought to distance itself from ByteDance.

India banned the platform in mid-2020, depriving ByteDance of one of its biggest markets as the government cracked down on 59 Chinese-owned apps it claimed were secretly transferring users’ data to servers outside India.

Since November, more than 20 states have banned TikTok on government-issued devices, and many universities — such as the University of Texas at Austin, Auburn University and Boise State University — have removed it from campus Wi-Fi. blocked on Fi networks. The app has been banned for three years on U.S. government devices used by the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. But the ban doesn’t usually extend to personal devices. Students can often use the app simply by switching to cellular data.

Some members do.This week, the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to Approval bill That could give the president the power to ban the platform entirely. (The court has previously blocked the Trump administration’s efforts to do so.)

In January, Sen. Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, introduced a bill to ban TikTok for all Americans after pushing a measure passed in December as part of a spending plan to The measure prohibits the use of TikTok on all devices issued by the federal government. Another bipartisan bill introduced in December also seeks to ban TikTok and targets any similar social media companies from countries such as Russia and Iran.

despite the white house direction A review is underway this week in response to questions about TikTok. TikTok has been holding secret talks with the government’s review panel, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, for years to resolve questions about TikTok and ByteDance’s relationship with the Chinese government and its handling of user data. TikTok said it has heard little since submitting a 90-page proposal in August detailing how it plans to operate in the United States while addressing national security concerns.

Most existing TikTok bans have been imposed by governments and universities that have the authority to keep the app off their devices or networks.

Caitlin Chin, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said a broader government ban preventing Americans from using apps that allow them to share opinions and art could face legal challenges over the First Amendment.After all, many Americans, including elected officials and major news organizations such as New York Times and Washington postnow making videos on TikTok.

“In a Democratic administration, the government cannot ban free speech or expression without very strong and tailored reasons, and it’s not clear that we already have those reasons,” Ms Chin said.

The exact mechanism for banning apps on private phones is unclear.

Ms Chin said the U.S. could block TikTok from selling ads or update its systems to essentially disable it.

Apple and other companies that operate app stores block downloads for apps that are no longer available. They also ban apps with inappropriate or illegal content, said Justin Cappos, a professor at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering.

They can also delete apps installed on users’ phones. “That doesn’t usually happen,” he said.

Resolute users can also fight the ban by refusing to update their phones, “which is a bad idea“Professor Kappos said.

TikTok called the bans “political drama” and criticized lawmakers for trying to censor Americans. “The quickest and most thorough way to address any national security concerns about TikTok is for CFIUS to adopt the Proposed agreement.” Separately, TikTok has been trying to win allies, making an uncharacteristic push recently in Washington to meet with influential think tanks, public interest groups and lawmakers to advance its plans to bring to the administration.

Chinese ownership appears to be the main issue.

Critics of efforts to ban the platform point to the data-collection spree of all social media networks.

Fight for the Future, a non-profit digital rights organization, recently launched a #DontBanTikTok campaign aimed at diverting lawmakers’ attention from TikTok to enacting data and privacy laws that would apply to all big tech companies.

“The general consensus in the privacy community is that TikTok collects a lot of data, but not inconsistently with the amount of data collected by other apps,” said Robyn Caplan, a senior fellow at the Institute for Data and Society.

American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter This week protested its bill to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, saying it would violate Americans’ First Amendment rights.

Of course, millions of Americans, digital creators and marketers don’t want to see the platform go away, and blocking a popular app could spark a political backlash among young people.

To protect your privacy on TikTok, you can do the same thing you do to protect yourself on other social media platforms. This includes not allowing apps to access your location or contacts.

You can also watch TikTok videos No need to open an account.

The government could approve TikTok’s plans to operate in the US. It is also possible that lawmakers could force ByteDance to sell TikTok to an American company – which will almost happen in 2020.

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