House passes bill banning TSA use of TikTok
The House on Thursday approved a bill that would ban Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials from downloading social media app TikTok onto government-issued devices.
The ban was approved as part of the Rights for Transportation Security Officers Act, which a bipartisan majority of the House passed by a vote of 230-171. The ban on TikTok, which is owned by Chinese group ByteDance, was added to the bill by an amendment approved unanimously.
Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), the lead sponsor of the amendment, said on the House floor ahead of the vote that TikTok “presents a significant counterintelligence threat.”
Concerns around TikTok and other Chinese tech groups, such as telecom giant Huawei, have largely stemmed from a 2017 Chinese intelligence law that requires Chinese companies to participate in state intelligence work and turn over information and data if requested.
“There are real concerns that this app could also collect information on users in the United States to advance Chinese counterintelligence efforts,” Spanberger said. “Because it could become a tool for surveilling U.S. citizens or federal personnel, TikTok has no business being on U.S. government-issued devices.”
A spokesperson for TikTok told The Hill that the company saw lawmaker concerns over TikTok as “unfounded.”