TikTok, the Chinese-owned social media app, could be banned in the United States following the introduction of a new bill by a bipartisan group of senators.
The Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act aims to mitigate risks of foreign technology by giving the government a proactive means of identifying and responding to emerging threats.
The legislation would establish a formal process for government agencies to take action on services they deem threatening as long as they have access to personal information from more than one million US citizens.
Although the bill doesn’t mention TikTok, it covers companies in adversarial countries, including China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela.
What Is The RESTRICT Act?
The RESTRICT Act includes the following measures:
- The Secretary of Commerce must create processes to find and stop transactions involving foreign adversaries’ interest in information and communications technology products that could risk national security.
- Priority should be given to evaluating technology products used in critical infrastructure, telecommunications products, and emerging technologies with profound national security implications.
- The Secretary must take comprehensive steps to address the risks posed by untrusted foreign technology products by considering concerning activity identified by other government entities.
- The Secretary of Commerce must work with the Director of National Intelligence to provide declassified information to educate the public and business community about the threat of transactions that are denied or mitigated because they pose undue or unacceptable risks.
Why TikTok Is A National Security Threat?
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the lead sponsor of the bill, believes that TikTok is a threat to US national security due to its potential to enable surveillance by the Chinese Communist Party and facilitate the spread of malign influence campaigns in the US.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee recently proposed a separate measure, the Deterring America’s Technological Adversaries Act (DATA Act), which would direct President Joe Biden to sanction or ban TikTok if the administration determines it shared US user data with individuals associated with the Chinese government.
Warner’s Senate proposal differs from the House bill because it would establish a system to assess and penalize foreign companies that threaten US security instead of solely focusing on TikTok.
TikTok denies storing US user data in China.
Although TikTok has promised to limit safety risks, negotiations with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) have been ongoing for over three years.
The RESTRICT Act could be a significant blow to TikTok’s US operations, potentially leading to a ban or a cut-off of relations with American companies.
As such, marketers should monitor the developments surrounding the RESTRICT Act. This legislation could impact TikTok’s operations and may have implications for marketing strategies that rely on the platform.
The RESTRICT Act is a step toward addressing the ongoing threat of foreign technology to US national security.
Featured Image: salarko/Shutterstock