US Senate Votes To Ban TikTok On Government Phones

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The US Senate voted Thursday to bar TikTok from being downloaded onto US government employees’ telephones, intensifying US scrutiny of the popular Chinese-owned video app.

 

The bill passed by the Republican controlled Senate now goes to the House of Representatives, led by Democrats.

“TikTok is a major security risk and has no place on government devices,” said Republican Senator Josh Hawley, the sponsor of the bill.

President Donald Trump, who has locked horns with China on a range of issues including trade and the coronavirus pandemic, has set a deadline of mid-September for TikTok to be acquired by a US firm or be banned in the United States.

RELATED NEWS:China talks tough, as Microsoft moves to acquire TikTok’s US operations

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This illustration photo taken on June 29, 2020 shows a person using the video-sharing app TikTok on a smartphone. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

TikTok is owned by the Chinese firm ByteDance, and Microsoft is in talks to buy the app’s US operations.

The bill passed Thursday says no government employee, members of Congress or people at government corporations may download or use TikTok or any successor app developed by ByteDance “on any device issued by the United States or a government corporation.”

READ ALSO:TikTok Lovers Rage Against Trump Threat Of US Ban

It states that the only exceptions are “any investigation, cybersecurity research activity, enforcement action, disciplinary action, or intelligence activity.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the US wants to bar from US phones not just TikTok but other Chinese apps which it deems to be threats to Americans’ personal data.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 9, 2018 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a press conference with Chinese politburo member Yang Jiechi and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe during the US-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue in the Benjamin Franklin Room of the State Department in Washington, DC. - The United States said July 9, 2020 it would refuse visas for three top Chinese officials and their families over the "horrific and systematic abuses" against Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the officials who would be refused entry include Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party secretary for the Xinjiang region who is considered an architect of Beijing's hardline policies on minorities. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)
In this file photo taken on November 9, 2018 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a press conference with Chinese politburo member Yang Jiechi and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe during the US-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue in the Benjamin Franklin Room of the State Department in Washington, DC. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

Washington says TikTok gleans massive amounts of personal data from hundreds of millions of users, which could be passed on to Chinese intelligence and used for spying purposes.

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TikTok denies sending American user data back to China.

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