The Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok could soon face new restrictions amid bipartisan concerns over how the company handles Americans’ data.
Former President Donald Trump had previously tried to outright ban the app and force its sale to a U.S. corporation. Courts ruled that approach illegal, however, and President Joe Biden rolled back Trump’s order soon after gaining office.
Now, Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Mark Warner, D-VA, are leading an effort the push the Biden administration to tackle the threat more effectively, according to the New York Times.
While TikTok has long insisted it does not share its data with the Chinese government or the Chinese Communist Party, executives have admitted under Congressional testimony that its U.S. data is accessible from China.
A June report from Buzzfeed also revealed that TikTok’s Chinese parent company, Bytedance, had access to American users’ data for months even while the company’s U.S. employees did not have access themselves.
The revelation came from leaked audio of roughly 80 internal meetings at the company, which spanned from September 2021 to January 2022.
But while the Biden administration has sympathized with Rubio and Warner’s concerns, the administration has made little progress in tamping down on national security concerns surrounding not just TikTok, but all apps owned by foreign adversaries.
The Biden administration did circulate a draft of an executive order that would expand government authority to intervene against companies when American’s data may be exposed to an adversary, according to NYT. The president has not signed such an order, however.
National Security Council spokeswoman Saloni Sharma says the issue is still on the administration’s mind.
“The Biden administration is focused on the challenge of certain countries, including China, seeking to leverage digital technologies and Americans’ data in ways that present unacceptable national security risks while advancing authoritarian control and interests,” National Security Council spokeswoman Saloni Sharma told NYT. “The administration is also reviewing additional potential actions to address this challenge.”