Privacy concerns could lead US to ban TikTok from government devices


A spending bill unveiled by the US Congress could ban TikTok from most US government devices, Security Week has detailed.

The $1.7trn package includes requirements for the Biden administration to prohibit most uses of TikTok or any other app created by its owner ByteDance. The requirements would apply to the executive branch — with exemptions for national security, law enforcement and research purposes.

TikTok is currently used by two-thirds of US teens and has become the second-most popular domain globally.

TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter called the ban a ‘political gesture that will do nothing to advance national security interests’.

She said, “These plans have been developed under the oversight of our country’s top national security agencies — plans that we are well underway in implementing — to further secure our platform in the US, and we will continue to brief lawmakers on them.”

Meanwhile, CIA director William Burns siad Bejing can ‘insist upon extracting the private data of a lot of TikTok users in the country and also to shape the content of what goes on to TikTok as well to suit the interests of the Chinese leadership’.

TikTok was recently hit by two lawsuits from the US state of Indiana, accusing the app of making false claims around its safety for children.

The legal salvo came as problems mount for the platform in the US, with multiple accusations that the app is a national security threat and a conduit for spying by China.

Attorney General Todd Rokita said, “The TikTok app is a malicious and menacing threat unleashed on unsuspecting Indiana consumers by a Chinese company that knows full well the harms it inflicts on users.”

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