Tiktok App Banned in the US. Why?
Reasons why the US Banned Tiktok App from Government-issued Phones
TikTok use on federal government equipment is now prohibited by an unprecedented US government order. The limits, which were included into a funding measure only days before Congress passed it and Joe Biden signed it into law, are causing more people to question the app’s future in the US as state and federal lawmakers hammer down on it. According to officials, ByteDance, the app’s Chinese owner, is a national security risk, necessitating the ban. But it also raises a lot of queries that go unanswered. US govt phones prohibited from using China-based app TikTok. What you should know is as follows;
Why did the ban happen?
Due to worries about national security about its Chinese parent firm ByteDance, the US government has prohibited TikTok from being used on state-issued smartphones. The Chinese authorities may be able to access these gadgets and the data of American users via TikTok, the US government is concerned. The plan was “pushed forward” by Congress, according to a spokesperson for TikTok, Brooke Oberwetter, and the firm was “disappointed.” She also called the proposal “a political gesture that would accomplish nothing to improve national security needs.” US govt phones prohibited from using China-based app TikTok. The restriction requires that federal employees delete TikTok from their government-issued smartphones in around two months, unless they are using the app for tasks related to law enforcement or national security.
For all federal employees to uninstall the app from their phones, rules and procedures must be developed within 60 days by the director of the US Office of Management and Budget and other agencies. Since TikTok has already been outlawed by a number of government institutions, including the White House, the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and State, nothing will change for those personnel. Additionally, earlier this week, Catherine Szpindor, the House of Representatives’ chief administrator, sent an order directing all staff members and MPs to delete the software from their devices.
How did we get here?
TikTok has long been the subject of US security worries. US govt phones prohibited from using China-based app TikTok. The first unsuccessful attempt to outlaw TikTok came from Donald Trump in 2020, but bipartisan attempts to regulate and limit the app’s use reached its pinnacle in 2022 after news outlets revealed that ByteDance workers had access to US TikTok user data. Concerns about national security have increased as a result of FBI Director Christopher Wray’s warnings that the Chinese government may use the software to access US users’ devices. Recently, the usage of TikTok on smartphones provided by state governments, including those from Texas, South Dakota, and Virginia—states that lean heavily Republican. Josh Hawley, a senator from Missouri, proposed a ban like to the current one in April and referred to TikTok as a “Trojan horse for the Chinese Communist Party.” The bill, which was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate in early December, included broad elements that were virtually repeated in the prohibition that was passed on Friday.
Have other countries taken similar actions against TikTok?
India is the largest nation that continues to prohibit usage of TikTok, while other nations like Indonesia have only briefly done so. Following a fatal border dispute with China, India permanently outlawed TikTok along with more than 50 other Chinese applications, claiming national security concerns. National prohibitions in other nations lasted a maximum of a few months. US govt phones prohibited from using China-based app TikTok.
Should we be more worried about TikTok than other apps?
Depending on who you ask. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Fight for the Future, numerous applications and services are giving government agencies access to user data, including in the US, despite the serious alarm over China’s ability to abuse TikTok access. According to Evan Greer, head of Fight for the Future, “there’s no sense until we also prohibit Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Uber, and Grubhub.” “Yes, accessing data through TikTok may be a little bit simpler for the Chinese government than through other applications, but there are numerous other methods governments may obtain data from apps,” US govt phones prohibited from using China-based app TikTok.
However, politicians from all sides of the political spectrum have proposed laws and supported initiatives to restrict TikTok use. In addition to Hawley’s measure, Florida Senator Marco Rubio has filed legislation that would completely prohibit the firm from functioning in the US. In a news release introducing the bipartisan measure, Rubio remarked, “This isn’t about creative videos; this is an app that gathers data on tens of millions of American children and adults every day.”
What are the geopolitical implications of this ban?
In recent years, the United States has increased its efforts to address China’s possible national security problems, notably by adding additional China-based businesses and entities to a Department of Commerce blacklist that imposes export restrictions on such businesses. The emphasis on TikTok is a part of this larger push, but other organisations worry that if TikTok is banned, China may follow suit. US govt phones prohibited from using China-based app TikTok. According to Gillian Diebold, a policy analyst at Data Innovation Center, “Blank app prohibitions based on foreign ownership of a firm will only affect U.S. companies in the long term, since governments may seek to restrict U.S. internet services over comparable concerns about national security.
Diebold stated, in line with other privacy advocates, that “politicians should search for more viable solutions that address the fundamental problems. According to Diebold, policymakers should prioritise enacting federal privacy regulations that safeguard consumer information and particularly mandate that businesses disclose whom they share data with and hold them responsible for those disclosures in order to solve data issues.
Could the US ever ban TikTok outright?
There have been several attempts to entirely outlaw TikTok in the US; for instance, Rubio’s measure would halt all of the company’s activities there. Such restrictions, however, have not yet been put to the test of viability. Trump’s earlier attempt to prevent new users from downloading TikTok was unsuccessful in court, in part due to worries about speech freedom. While Rubio’s bill and other similar proposed laws banning TikTok are meant to “protect America from China’s authoritarian government,” they actually adopt “one of the cornerstones of Chinese” internet strategy, according to EFF General Counsel Kurt Opsahl. An absolute prohibition would also be a violation of free speech. US govt phones prohibited from using China-based app TikTok.
According to Opsahl, “a government has the authority to impose guidelines and limitations on the use of official equipment that it possesses, but seeking to outlaw TikTok in public is something altogether else. “A comprehensive ban is not the solution,” he stated. “TikTok’s security, privacy, and connection with the Chinese government are serious concerns. A blanket prohibition suppresses the speech of millions of regular Americans instead of being narrowly targeted to the least restrictive ways of resolving security and privacy issues.
US Army Bans TikTok
The US Army recently employed TikTok as a recruiting tool, but has since forbade its usage on official phones and changed its stance on the entertainment app. Military.com has previously reported the action, which complies with Pentagon directives. Additionally, earlier this month the US Navy prohibited the Chinese software due to security issues with mobile devices that are provided by the government. TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, has sparked worries from US authorities that businesses in China are subject to government supervision and may use their products to spy on people. US govt phones prohibited from using China-based app TikTok.
Army spokesman: “The Army is following directives (from the Office of Defense Secretary) in this regard.” “On December 16th, a cyber awareness alert was sent out warning that the use of TikTok may provide security hazards. The letter outlines the proper precautions staff members should take to safeguard their personal data. To prevent disclosing personal information, the advice is to be cautious when downloading applications, watch out for strange and unsolicited texts, etc., delete them right away, and uninstall TikTok. The US military forbade the use of TikTok by cadets last month after Senator Chuck Schumer voiced worries about the military’s use of the app for recruiting. Despite the fact that the military cannot forbid personnel from using TiKTok on their personal phones, the Army recommends troops to be cautious if they receive any unidentified text messages.
TSA TikTok Ban
The TSA is the most recent government organisation to declare that they would not be utilising TikTok. Recently, the short video service has drawn more attention, and it has even been alleged that it may exchange user information with China without their knowledge or agreement. Given that it has lately been linked to a drug issue, teen suicides, and viral challenges that have resulted in injuries, TikTok is not without criticism. The majority of criticism of the site centres on the fact that youthful users have proven to be its biggest fans. The other side of TikTok’s criticisms, though, centred more on how much users should first trust the service’s privacy claims.
In a recent news release, US Senator Chuck Schumer said that the Transportation Security Administration should stop utilising TikTok app since it continues to be used. Although some of its personnel used the app as part of the company’s increased social media presence, the TSA has now certified to news organisations, including the Associated Press, that it does not utilise the app officially. The TSA cut off all links to the social networking service and stated that this will no longer be the case. US govt phones prohibited from using China-based app TikTok.
If several US government agencies are worried about a service, there may be good cause for common consumers to be concerned as well. For instance, Schumer’s letter points out that the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security have already banned the usage of TikTok, making the TSA simply the latest organisation to follow suit. In support, Schumer claims that the threats to the safety of the US and federal institutions are “quite genuine.”
However, the issue for certain consumers is that there isn’t any conclusive proof that the software is dangerous. At the very least, it poses no greater risk to people than any other app or website that likewise gathers personal data. The connection between government agencies and TikTok is similar to that of the same authorities and Huawei in many aspects. Again, there is little concrete evidence of Huawei’s misbehaviour, but the government still forbade all US firms from doing business with the phonemaker. US govt phones prohibited from using China-based app TikTok. In either case, there may be information that indicates Huawei and TikTok represent a serious risk to user and national security, but unless that information is made public and users have an opportunity to make an educated choice, we won’t act in a way that makes sense for consumers. In the case of TikTok, that extends beyond the moderation problems and video content problems that affect the app as a whole.
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