Biden Gives Agencies 30 Days to Ban TikTok, China Calls US ‘Insecure’
President Biden gave government agencies 30 days to remove Chinese-owned TikTok from federal devices yesterday (Monday).
The White House circulated a memorandum that federal agencies must have the video-sharing app removed from phones and systems in a bid to keep U.S. data safe.
Congress passed the bipartisan bill in December last year which was unanimously approved by the Senate.
As noted by Reuters, the ban will have a negligent impact on TikTok’s U.S. user base but it adds fuel to calls for an outright ban on the ByteDance-owned app.
The company has denied that the app is used to spy on Americans and that the concerns are fueled by misinformation.
“This guidance is part of the Administration’s ongoing commitment to securing our digital infrastructure and protecting the American people’s security and privacy,” says Federal Chief Information Security Officer Chris DeRush.
Canada has announced that it joined the U.S. in banning TikTok from all government-issued mobile devices.
“I suspect that as government takes the significant step of telling all federal employees that they can no longer use TikTok on their work phones many Canadians from business to private individuals will reflect on the security of their own data and perhaps make choices,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said after the announcement.
China Calls the Ban ‘Insecure’
A spokesperson from the Chinese Foreign Ministry says that the ban reveals Washington’s own insecurities and accused the White House of abusing state power.
“How unsure of itself can the U.S., the world’s top superpower, be to fear a young person’s favorite app to such a degree?” Says Mao Ning at a daily briefing. “The U.S. government has been overstretching the concept of national security and abusing state power to suppress other countries’ companies.”
As noted by the Associated Press, China has a long list of foreign social media platforms that are blocked including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.
On Tuesday, a bill that would give President Biden the authority to ban TikTok from all U.S. devices will be voted on by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“My bill empowers the administration to ban TikTok or any software applications that threaten U.S. national security,” Representative Mike McCaul, the committee chair, says. “Anyone with TikTok downloaded on their device has given the Chinese Communist Party a backdoor to all their personal information. It’s a spy balloon into your phone.”
The American Civil Liberties Union says it is opposed a congressional ban on TikTok.
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.