The White House has given its support to legislation that twelve senators introduced on Tuesday to enable the administration to ban China-based TikTok and other technologies originated in foreign countries if they are found to pose a threat to national security, Reuters reported.
The RESTRICT Act, which stands for “Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology,” would grant the Commerce Department the power to impose restrictions on or directly ban technologies, including TikTok, if the Commerce Secretary, Gina Raimondo, identifies and addresses any security risks.
Democratic Senator Mark Warner, who leads the senators that introduced the bill along with Republican John Thune, said that the bill would cover technologies based in China, North Korea, Russia, Iran, Cuba and Venezuela.
Among the senators that introduced the bill are Kirsten Gillibrand, Michael Bennet, Martin Heinrich, Tammy Baldwin and Joe Manchin from the Democratic Party, Deb Fischer, Dan Sullivan, Jerry Moran, Mitt Romney, and Susan Collins from the Republican Party.
On Tuesday, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement that the RESTRICT Act ‘’would empower the United States government to prevent certain foreign governments from exploiting technology services operating in the United States in a way that poses risks to Americans’ sensitive data and our national security.’
‘’This bill presents a systematic framework for addressing technology-based threats to the security and safety of Americans,’’ Sullivan said. ‘’Critically, it would strengthen our ability to address discrete risks posed by individual transactions, and systemic risks posed by certain classes of transactions involving countries of concern in sensitive technology sectors. This will help us address the threats we face today, and also prevent such risks from arising in the future.’’
‘’We look forward to continue working with both Democrats and Republicans on this bill, and urge Congress to act quickly to send it to the President’s desk,’’ he added.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for TikTok said in a statement that a “U.S. ban on TikTok is a ban on the export of American culture and values to the billion-plus people who use our service worldwide.“
“The swiftest and most thorough way to address any national security concerns about TikTok is for CFIUS to adopt the proposed agreement that we worked with them on for nearly two years,” the spokesperson added.
The news comes days after the United States, Canada and the European Commission banned TikTok from government-issued devices.