WASHINGTON: US Senator Mark Warner on Sunday (local time) said that America would be introducing bipartisan legislation this week aimed at letting the government “ban or prohibit” foreign technology products such as Chinese-owned TikTok.
Warner said that he and Senator John Thune will introduce the bill, adding, “I’ve got a broad Bipartisan bill that I’m launching with my friend John Thune will be the Republican lead where we’re going to say, in terms of foreign technology coming into America, we’ve got to have a systemic approach to make sure that we can ban or prohibit it when necessary.”
In an interview with Fox News, Warner said, “We have never had a potential adversary like China. So this week, I’m introducing bipartisan legislation to protect our national security against a wide range of foreign tech threats.”
Warner, the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman, said TikTok would be “one of the potentials” for review under the bill.
The bill comes at a time when TikTok is under intensifying pressure over concerns that data about US users could end up in the hands of the Chinese government.
Warner had long been warning about China on multiple fronts. He said that for a long time, the conventional wisdom was that the more you bring China into the world order, the more they’re going to change.
However, he said, “That assumption was just plain wrong. China even changed their laws in 2016 to make it explicitly clear that for every company in China, their first obligation is to the Communist Party.”
Speaking on lost valuable time in assessing the threat accurately from China, Warner said that the US never had a potential adversary like China and said that while “Russia was a military or ideological” threat, China is investing in economic areas.
“They have USD 500 billion of intellectual property theft. And we are in competition not just on a national security basis, but on a technology basis. That’s why national security now includes telecommunications, satellites, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing, each of these domains. We’ve got to make the kind of investments to stay ahead. And I think we’re starting that in a Bipartisan way,” said Warner to Fox News.
He also highlighted the CHIPS bill that tried to bring semiconductor manufacturing back to the US.
Warner also said that TikTok is a propaganda tool and is taking data from Americans.
“Listen, TikTok is not only you got 100 million Americans on TikTok, 90 minutes a day. Even you guys would like that kind of return. 90 minutes a day. They are taking data from Americans, not keeping it safe. But what worries me more with TikTok is that this can be a propaganda tool to basically the kind of videos you see would promote ideological issues. If you look at what TikTok shows to the Chinese kids, which is all about science and engineering versus is what our kids see, there’s a radical difference,” said Warner.
Meanwhile, the US House Foreign Affairs Committee voted on Wednesday to give President Joe Biden the power to ban TikTok, in what would be the most far-reaching US restriction on any social media app.
The White House last week gave government agencies 30 days to ensure that TikTok is not on any federal devices and systems.
Several states, including Maryland, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Texas, have passed similar legislation banning government agencies from using TikTok over security concerns.
More than 30 US states, Canada and European Union policy institutions have also banned TikTok from being loaded onto state-owned devices.
The Canadian government blocked the short-form video app TikTok from official electronic devices. According to CNN, Government-issued devices will be blocked from downloading TikTok, and existing installations of the app will be removed, according to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.
The statement said: “Following a review of TikTok, the Chief Information Officer of Canada determined that it presents an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security.” (ANI)