TikTok national security bill

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The Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), aims to address national security concerns related to TikTok's ownership by the Chinese company ByteDance. The bill proposes significant measures to restrict the distribution of apps like TikTok unless they sever ties with entities controlled by foreign adversaries, specifically targeting ByteDance in this instance. Under the proposed legislation, app stores and web hosting services would be prohibited from distributing applications controlled by ByteDance, including TikTok, unless these apps divest from Chinese ownership within a specified period. The bill outlines a civil penalty for app stores that fail to comply, calculated based on the number of U.S. users accessing the app, at a rate of $5,000 per user. ByteDance would have a 165-day window to divest TikTok to avoid these penalties. The bill also grants the President the authority to designate other social media companies from countries considered foreign adversaries—such as China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea—as subject to similar restrictions. This would mean that apps owned by companies from these countries would need to sever ties with their parent companies to continue operating in the U.S.. Critics of the bill, including TikTok and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), argue that it infringes on First Amendment rights and could have profound implications for free speech and expression. TikTok has emphasized its efforts to protect U.S. user data through initiatives like Project Texas, which aims to isolate U.S. user data from ByteDance. However, concerns persist among lawmakers that China's national security laws could compel ByteDance to hand over information on U.S. users. The bill represents a significant legislative effort to address the national security risks associated with foreign-owned social media platforms operating in the U.S. It follows previous attempts by the U.S. government to regulate or ban TikTok, including actions taken during the Trump administration and ongoing scrutiny under the Biden administration. The proposed legislation is set to be considered at an Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, marking a critical step in the legislative process.
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