Senators Hawley, Scott Introduce Legislation to Ban TikTok from Government Devices

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Today U.S. Senators Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) introduced legislation to ban all federal employees from using TikTok on government devices. The State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and TSA have already banned TikTok on federal government devices due to cybersecurity concerns and possible spying by the Chinese government.

“TikTok is owned by a Chinese company that includes Chinese Communist Party members on its board, and it is required by law to share user data with Beijing. The company even admitted it collects user data while their app is running in the background – including the messages people send, pictures they share, their keystrokes and location data, you name it. As many of our federal agencies have already recognized, TikTok is a major security risk to the United States, and it has no place on government devices.”

Senator Hawley

Senator Scott said, “The use of apps like TikTok by federal employees on government devices is a risk to our network and a threat to our national security, and I’m proud to join Senator Hawley to put an end to it. We should all be very concerned about the threat of Communist China, and I hope my colleagues will join me to implement this ban immediately and protect our national security.”

Senator Hawley announced he would be introducing the bill in last week’s Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee entitled, “Dangerous Partners: Big Tech & Beijing.” TikTok declined his invitation to testify in the hearing – just as they did for the Subcommittee’s hearing in November. After the November hearing, Senator Hawley introduced the National Security and Personal Data Protection Act to combat the flow of Americans’ sensitive personal data to China and countries that similarly threaten national security.

Full text of the bill is available here.