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Bipartisan group of lawmakers take action on governing TikTok while White House stalls



A group of twelve bipartisan Congressional lawmakers have banded together to introduce a new bill that would prompt the Biden administration to move faster on reining in the social media app TikTok for fear of digital threats from China.

ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, has long been under scrutiny by US lawmakers as an easy way for Beijing to employ a digital attack on the US or use user data for malicious purposes. This week, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner brought forward a new bill that would give the White House broader powers to regulate TikTok in the United States in order to curb those potential threats.

Warner says he introduced the bill along with a bipartisan group of lawmakers from both the House and the Senate because the White House appears to have stalled in its review of TikTok and its potential security threats and Capitol Hill lawmakers are becoming impatient. “I was frustrated that the White House hadn’t come up with a solution,” Warner said to reporters on Wednesday. The bill would give the Secretary of Commerce the power to take measures against apps that pose threats to the US, including and up to banning them. 

The White House threw its support behind the bill this week after it was unveiled, marking a shift in the administration’s ideas on how to regulate TikTok. “This bill presents a systematic framework for addressing technology-based threats to the security and safety of Americans,” said White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan. “Critically, it would strengthen our ability to address discrete risks posed by individual transactions, and systemic risks posed by certain classes of transactions involving countries of concern in sensitive technology sectors.”

Sullivan called on Congress to act quickly to pass the Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act. 

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