Engineering 101

TikTok Banned from US Government Devices

The uproar regarding TikTok isn’t new. What is new is that a new spending bill bans the social media site from most U.S. government devices.

The $1.7 trillion spending package includes requirements for the Biden administration to prohibit most uses of TikTok or any other app created by its owner, ByteDance Ltd. The ban applies to the executive branch — with exemptions for national security, law enforcement, and research purposes — and doesn’t cover Congress, where a handful of lawmakers have TikTok accounts.

According to a TikTok spokesperson, it is developing security and data privacy plans as part of a security review by the Biden administration.

CIA Director William Burns said Beijing can “insist upon extracting the private data of a lot of TikTok users in this country and also to shape the content of what goes on to TikTok as well to suit the interests of the Chinese leadership.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was pushing to include the TikTok provision in the big year-end bill, her office said. Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican who authored a version of the TikTok bill that passed the Senate last week, called the government device ban “the first major strike against Big Tech enacted into law.”

Several other elected officials are jumping on the potential ban.

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