Representative Ken Buck (R-CO) and Senator Josh Hawley’s (R-MO) No Tik Tok on Government Devices Act passed in the Senate on Dec. 14 last year, banning TikTok on federal devices.
A new bill introduced in Congress by Buck and Hawley on Jan. 25 aims to expand these restrictions, preventing TikTok from being downloaded on U.S. devices and penalizing transactions with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance.
“TikTok is a clear threat to our privacy and national security,” Buck said in an online statement. “It has been used to spy on Americans and gain an alarming level of access to users’ phones. This should concern every citizen who values their privacy, security, and personal information.”
At least 25 U.S. states have also placed restrictions on TikTok, citing data privacy concerns, as ByteDance is based in China.
ByteDance denies sharing user data with the Chinese government or censoring data at its request.
Texas A&M, UT Austin, Auburn University and the University of Oklahoma have all enacted TikTok bans on their networks and devices. At the University of Oklahoma, TikTok will continue to be accessible on their guest network on personal devices, according to director of media relations April Sandefer.
Ryan King, associate director of media relations for the UC Office of the President, said in an email that federal restrictions on TikTok do not currently affect campus.
“The University will continue to monitor and comply with existing federal laws and to work with state legislators as they evaluate whether a state law governing the use of these digital tools is appropriate at this time,” King said in the email.
According to King, campus officials have not met with state legislators regarding this issue, though campus experts are available to lawmakers should they want to discuss potential TikTok regulations.
California State Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) introduced Senate Bill 74 on Jan. 11, which aims to ban “high risk” social media apps. Dodd mentioned TikTok in his press release, citing national security concerns, and stated that he aims to mirror recent national legislation in California.
TikTok spokesperson Jamal Brown said in an email that the company has worked with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to address national security concerns, spending $1.5 billion to date on measures to ensure there are no “backdoors” into the platform.
“We’re sorry to see the unintended consequences of ill-conceived state network TikTok bans beginning to impact universities’ ability to share information, recruit students and build communities around athletic teams, student groups, campus publications, and more,” Brown said in the email. “Moreover, these bans are not necessary.”