- Samson Omale
US Cracks Down, Bans TikTok On All Federal Phones
The United States has stepped up its China crackdown, this time with a directive from the White House banning the app TikTok on all federal phones.
Federal agencies have 30 days to get TikTok off their government devices. Concerns the app could be used to collect data and potentially spy on Americans have been driving the calls for the government ban.
The Office of Management and Budget said the government ban was a "critical step forward in addressing the risks presented by the app to sensitive government data."
White House officials had previously said the app wasn't allowed on White House phones.
"We are focused on the challenges of certain countries, including China, seeking to leverage digital technologies and Americans' data in ways that present unaccountable, unacceptable national security risk," said White House Press Secretary Karrine Jean-Pierre earlier in February.
The latest U.S. move comes as Canada also issued a federal TikTok ban starting today.
"We are making the decision that for government employees, for government equipment, it is better to not have them access TikTok because of the concerns that people have in terms of safety. This may be a first step, it may be the only step we need to take," said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Multiple bills have been filed in Congress looking to ban TikTok nationwide in America. The Republican chair and Democratic ranking member of the new House Select Committee on China appeared together on CBS this past weekend to talk about what Congress can do to take on China.
"TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company that's required to provide its user data, including on the 140 million Americans, as well as control of algorithms, to the Chinese Communist Party upon request. All we're saying is if TikTok is gonna operate here, don't have that user data and algorithms controlled by an adversarial regime," said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL). He also added he didn't think the app would ultimately get banned.
The new House Select Committee on China holds its first hearing Tuesday night in prime time. The hearing will focus on the Chinese Communist Party's threat to America.