The Biden administration’s stance on TikTok has become clear as they take aim at the popular social media platform with a recent move by the Commerce Department. The move signals a continuation of the previous administration’s efforts to address concerns about national security and data privacy related to TikTok’s Chinese ownership.
The Commerce Department recently issued a new rule that would allow the agency to review and potentially block transactions involving foreign adversaries that pose a national security risk. This rule gives the department broad powers to scrutinize and potentially restrict transactions involving TikTok, as it falls under the scope of foreign adversary technology.
This move by the Biden team reflects the growing bipartisan consensus in the United States that TikTok’s connection to China poses a significant risk. Under the previous administration, former President Trump tried to ban TikTok outright, citing similar concerns. However, various legal challenges and negotiations with the company have since put the ban on hold.
Despite the legal battles, the Biden administration’s actions show that they are not shying away from addressing the national security risks associated with Chinese-owned apps, of which TikTok is the most prominent example. Concerns have been raised regarding the potential for data harvesting and surveillance activities by the Chinese government through these apps, which could compromise the privacy and security of American users.
The Commerce Department’s rule gives them significant authority to determine whether a transaction involving TikTok poses a risk to national security. It also allows for transparency into the review process and encourages engagement with stakeholders to ensure due process is followed. This is a welcome step towards a more systematic and accountable approach to addressing national security risks associated with foreign-owned apps.
However, some critics argue that the approach taken by both the previous and current administrations is more politically charged than driven by genuine concerns over national security. They claim that TikTok’s popularity among younger users, who are seen as more liberal-leaning and influential in the digital space, has sparked the efforts to restrict the app.
Nevertheless, the escalating pushback against TikTok in the U.S. reflects a broader trend of governments around the world grappling with the influence and control of Chinese-owned technology companies. India has already banned TikTok, along with several other Chinese apps, citing similar concerns about national security and data privacy. Other countries, such as Australia and the United Kingdom, have also taken steps to scrutinize TikTok’s operations and address associated risks.
As the Biden team takes aim at TikTok with this recent Commerce Department move, it sends a strong signal that the U.S. is not willing to compromise national security and data privacy for the sake of a popular social media platform. The comprehensive review process established by the new rule enables a more informed and transparent decision-making process regarding transactions involving TikTok and offers a potential pathway to address concerns in a measured and accountable manner.
Ultimately, the Biden administration’s approach to TikTok reflects the importance of safeguarding national security and protecting American citizens’ data privacy in an increasingly interconnected digital world. With the new rule in place, it will be interesting to see how the review process unfolds and what actions will be taken to address the risks associated with Chinese-owned apps like TikTok.