US senators introduced a proposal to ban federal government employees from using the Chinese-owned TikTok app on state-owned devices in a major spending bill on Tuesday.
The bill, which is expected to be voted on this week, is a composite bill intended to fund a wide range of government activities, according to Reuters.
TikTok’s parent company is Beijing-based ByteDance. The bill orders the government to think up “Standards and Guidelines” for federal agencies “removal request” [TikTok] from information technology.”
The move comes after the US Senate voted last week to ban government employees from using the app on state-owned devices. Josh Hawley, a Republican senator from Missouri who spearheaded the bill, described TikTok as “The Troy Horse of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Hawley emphasized that this app is “a major security risk to the United States and until forced to completely cut ties with China, it has no place on government equipment.” More than a dozen US states have blocked or restricted access to TikTok from government computers.
In a statement in October, TikTok denied allegations that the app was being used to target US citizens, including government officials and journalists. The company says the app does not collect “accurate GPS location information from US users”.
Last month, the United States banned the import and sale of equipment made by Chinese telecom giants Huawei and ZTE, video surveillance companies Dahua and Hikvision, as well as wireless system maker Hytera, with reasons for security concerns. Beijing denies these companies are used for espionage, and says it always encourages Chinese corporations to abide by local laws when operating abroad.
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