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US Senate Introduces New Bill to Increase Scrutiny of TikTok

Picture: DW

A bipartisan group of senators has put forth a new bill aimed at addressing potential threats from technology originating from adversary countries, with a particular focus on the TikTok video-sharing app.

The proposed legislation would create new government procedures for identifying and mitigating risks from foreign technology, including requiring the Commerce Department to establish protocols for "identifying, deterring, disrupting, preventing, prohibiting and mitigating" risks associated with foreign technology.

The bill, titled the RESTRICT Act (Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology), would also require the Commerce Department to work alongside intelligence agencies to provide declassified information on how restricted transactions posed threats. This bill is part of a series of legislative efforts aimed at dealing with technology controlled by companies based in potential adversary countries, particularly China, and the lawmakers leading the charge believe that previous government efforts have been ineffective due to outdated authorities and a lack of coordination.

Senators Mark Warner and John Thune are spearheading this latest effort to address the issue, which they say is becoming increasingly pressing as Chinese-owned apps like TikTok and Temu LLC dominate the U.S. app market.

In response to the proposed RESTRICT Act, TikTok released a statement expressing appreciation for Congress members willing to address national security concerns without resorting to censorship. The company argued that a U.S. ban on TikTok would not only limit American's access to the app but also prevent the export of American culture and values to the app's more than one billion global users.

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