US Lawmakers Draw Inspiration from India’s TikTok Ban, Push Effort to Regulate Chinese Apps

US Lawmakers Draw Inspiration from India’s TikTok Ban, Push Effort to Regulate Chinese Apps

In a significant move, US lawmakers have drawn inspiration from India’s decisive action against Chinese apps, particularly TikTok, as they push forward with legislation aimed at regulating foreign-controlled applications.

The Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, co-authored by Indian American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat, and Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher, passed in the House of Representatives with resounding support, 352 votes to 65.

The bill, which seeks to impose regulations on foreign apps like TikTok operating in the United States, is now headed to the Senate for further consideration before potentially reaching the White House for presidential approval. The impetus for the legislation stemmed from India’s bold move in 2020 to ban 59 Chinese-made applications, including TikTok, as part of efforts to safeguard national security. Congressman Greg Murphy emphasized India’s commitment to protecting its citizens’ security and pointed out that other countries, such as the European Union and Canada, have taken similar steps, prohibiting TikTok’s use on official devices due to concerns over data privacy and transparency issues.

“TikTok is used by China to target, surveil, and manipulate American citizens,” stated Murphy, highlighting the potential risks posed by the app’s data collection practices and its ties to the Chinese Communist Party. Governments across the globe, including the US, European Union, Canada, and certain US states, have already restricted TikTok’s use on government devices, citing concerns over data security and the company’s lack of transparency regarding data collection and moderation policies.

While the bill aims to address the threat posed by foreign-controlled technology services compromising American privacy and national security, it does not outright ban apps like TikTok. Instead, it focuses on preventing the ownership of such applications from falling into the hands of entities that could potentially misuse them to the detriment of the United States. The White House has signaled its support for the legislation, indicating that the president would sign the bill into law once it clears the Senate. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan emphasized the importance of safeguarding American data and ensuring that businesses remain domestically owned rather than falling under foreign control.

However, not all lawmakers are fully onboard with the proposed legislation. Congressman Gregory W. Meeks, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, expressed reservations about the bill’s broad discretion given to the Executive Branch, raising concerns about potential lack of congressional oversight.

As the legislation moves forward, it represents a significant step toward addressing the evolving threats posed by foreign-controlled technology services, with a particular focus on safeguarding American privacy and national security in the digital age.

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