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Two members of Colorado’s federal delegation are taking action in an attempt to block TikTok from U.S. devices due to security threats the app poses.
Last week, Republican U.S. Rep. Ken Buck proposed a bill that would prohibit TikTok from being downloaded on U.S. devices, while today Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet sent a letter to the CEOs of Apple and Google asking them to remove the app from their app stores.
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In Bennet’s letter, he asked Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai to remove the apps because of a requirement by the Chinese government that TikTok’s Beijing-based parent company, ByteDance, “support, assist, and cooperate with state intelligence work,” as the app collects extensive user data.
“Beijing’s requirement raises the obvious risk that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) could weaponize TikTok against the United States, specifically, by forcing ByteDance to surrender Americans’ sensitive data or manipulate the content Americans receive to advance China’s interests,” Bennet wrote. “No company subject to CCP dictates should have the power to accumulate such extensive data on the American people or curate content to nearly a third of our population.”
Buck introduced a bill banning the app from government devices last year, which passed and became law. If the new bill passes, it would direct the president to use the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to block and prohibit transactions with ByteDance. The bill also requests that within 120 days of enactment, the director of national intelligence submit a report and brief Congress on the security threats the app poses.
“TikTok is a clear threat to our privacy and national security. Not only is TikTok directly associated with the Chinese Communist Party, but it has been used to spy on Americans and gain an alarming level of access to users’ phones,” Buck said in a statement. “This should concern every citizen who values their privacy, security, and personal information. Banning CCP tied TikTok nationwide is the only route to ending this malicious cybersecurity threat. I am proud to introduce this legislation alongside Sen. Josh Hawley to ensure that every Americans’ privacy and security is protected from hostile foreign entities.”
Hawley, of Missouri, sponsored the Senate version of the bill that banned TikTok from government devices.
Bennet’s letter also emphasized past efforts of ByteDance and TikTok to limit content critical of the Chinese Communist Party and send pro-Chinese propaganda to American users. According to his letter, 64% of Americans between the ages of 12 and 34 have TikTok, with an average American TikTok user on the app for an average of 80 minutes per day.
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