a TikTok logo is displayed on an iPhone

A TikTok brand is displayed on an iPhone. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Photos

The U.S., Canada, and numerous European governments in latest months have stepped up efforts to impose restrictions on TikTok, ratcheting up strain on the Chinese language-owned app whilst U.S.-China relations have grown more and more strained.

Driving the information: Final week the Home Overseas Affairs Committee superior laws that may give President Biden the facility to ban the app.

Why do governments need to ban TikTok?

TikTok is owned by the personal Chinese language firm, ByteDance, and far of the scrutiny has revolved across the agency’s relationship with the Chinese language authorities.

The large image: Critics have voiced concern that TikTok may put U.S. buyer knowledge in danger as a result of Chinese language regulation requires China’s corporations to share data with the federal government, Axios Scott Rosenberg and Sara Fischer write.

Quite a lot of latest revelations have challenged TikTok’s claims that U.S. consumer knowledge is safe as a result of it’s saved outdoors of China and that the corporate doesn’t adjust to Chinese language authorities content material moderation necessities.

  • FBI Director Chris Wray warned in December that the Chinese language authorities controls the app’s advice algorithm, permitting it to probably manipulate content material or instigate operations to affect customers, and that the Chinese language authorities maintains the power to gather consumer knowledge.

Price noting: TikTok would not function inside China. ByteDance as a substitute presents an identical model of the app, referred to as Douyin, to Chinese language prospects.

The place is TikTok at present banned?

Greater than 20 U.S. states have banned state workers from utilizing TikTok on government-issued gadgets and numerous U.S. universities have barred it from their WiFi networks.

State of play: India banned TikTok in 2020 over privateness and safety considerations.

  • In December, Taiwan imposed a public sector ban on using Chinese language-made software program on authorities gadgets, which would come with TikTok, per AP.
  • The European Fee, EU Council and Parliament all introduced final month that they might prohibit workers from having TikTok on their work gadgets.
  • Canada additionally banned the app from government-issued cell gadgets final month.
  • In Afghanistan, the Taliban ordered a ban on TikTok and the sport PUBG final yr, claiming it was essential to preserve youth from “being misled.”
Who helps a nationwide ban?

The Deterring America’s Technological Adversaries Act (DATA Act), superior final week by the Home Overseas Affairs Committee, was launched by committee chair Michael McCaul (R-Texas).

What’s extra: Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has additionally been a proponent of banning TikTok from government-issued gadgets, and in January he launched laws to ban TikTok nationwide.

  • Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, instructed “Fox Information Sunday” that he and Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) will introduce laws this week geared toward creating an method for banning or prohibiting overseas know-how, equivalent to TikTok.
  • Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Angus King (I-Maine) reintroduced laws final month that may ban TikTok from working within the U.S.
What authorized challenges would possibly preclude a complete ban?

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) despatched a letter to the Home Overseas Affairs Committee late final month urging members to vote in opposition to the DATA Act, saying it could successfully ban TikTok within the U.S.

  • Calling the laws “imprecise and overbroad,” the letter argued that it could violate People’ First Modification rights by infringing on the rights to freedom of expression and affiliation.
  • “Whether or not we’re discussing the information of the day, reside streaming protests, or ​​even watching cat movies, we now have a proper to make use of TikTok and different platforms to trade our ideas, concepts, and opinions with folks across the nation and around the globe,” Jenna Leventoff, senior coverage counsel at ACLU, stated in a press launch.
What different nations are doing

Even nations that have not but taken steps to ban TikTok have taken steps to probe and limit the app.

  • A number of German ministries prohibit using TikTok on official telephones, Politico reported.
  • French knowledge safety watchdog CNIL fined TikTok 5 million euros in January over knowledge safety violations and the French Senate launched an inquiry into the app this month.
  • Estonia has prohibited protection ministry officers from having TikTok on both their work or private gadgets, Politico reported.
  • The U.Ok., Australia and New Zealand are permitting particular person authorities companies to decide on whether or not workers can use the app on work gadgets, in accordance with the Wall Road Journal.

What to look at: TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is ready to testify earlier than the Home Vitality and Commerce Committee on March 23, his first-ever look earlier than a Congressional committee.

Go deeper: TikTok drama underscores rising U.S.-China divide