House Votes to Ban China-Owned TikTok from Government Devices

Soldiers of the Peoples' Liberation Army (PLA) during a flag raising ceremony at an open day at the Ngong Shuen Chau Barracks in Hong Kong on June 30, 2019, to mark the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong's handover from Britain to China on July 1. (Photo by ISAAC LAWRENCE / …
ISAAC LAWRENCE/AFP/Getty Images

The House voted this week to ban federal employees from downloading the Chinese social media app TikTok on government devices as part of a $741 billion defense policy bill.

Politico reports that lawmakers voted 336-71 to pass a proposal offered by Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) to ban the use of the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok on federal-issued devices as part of a package of bipartisan amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act.

The ban of the app on federal-issued devices would extend to members of Congress and congressional staff. During a floor speech on Monday, Buck referred to TikTok as a “serious national security threat” and stated that the data the company collects from U.S. consumers “could be used in a cyberattack against our republic” if shared with the Chinese government.

The House is expected to pass its version of the NDAA today, Tuesday, July 21. The Senate will likely pass the bill later this week, the two chambers will then work on coming to agreements on differences in a joint conference committee.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday is reportedly set to consider legislation from Senators Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Rick Scott (R-FL), S.3455(116), which mirrors a similar request from the NDAA amendment proposed by Buck to ban TikTok use on federal devices.

TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance and has faced intense scrutiny in Washingtons for security reasons due to its ownership. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently advised all Americans not to download the app unless they want their private information to fall into “the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.” Pompeo stated on Monday that the Trump administration is considering blocking some Chinese apps, which he says are a threat to national security.

TikTok announced recently that it would be withdrawing from Hong Kong where a new national security law from China was enacted. It was recently reported that TikTok has begun evaluating changes to the corporate structure of its business in order to avoid scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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