The White House on Wednesday (local time) asserted that the Chinese-owned app TikTok is a "potential national security risk".
While responding to a question on whether US President Joe Biden believes TikTok is a threat to national security, the White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, "Well, we have said that we have concerns. We have concerns about the app. And that's why we have called on Congress to act and -- including -- and I mentioned earlier, just moments ago -- including what China -- how China is trying to collect the privacy of Americans in a way that it would have -- it would -- can present national security risks", in a press briefing.
It comes after the White House gave federal agencies 30 days to purge TikTok from all government-issued devices on Monday.
"So, yes, we have concerns about that. And -- and, look, we're going to continue to -- again, to call on Congress. I just laid out the President's Unity Agenda and what he's looking to do and the actions that he wants to take from the executive branch, his authority. And so we're going to continue to call that out," she added.
Earlier, congressional legislation passed in December banned the popular video-sharing app from federal government devices and systems, amid concerns TikTok's parent company ByteDance could allow the Chinese Communist Party access to user data, reported New York Post (NYP).
Answering on President Biden has no legal mechanism to ban TikTok, the Press Secretary said, "I'm not going to get into the specifics on what he has legally to do so or to not do so. What I'm saying -- and we've been very clear that TikTok, you know, poses a problem and an issue. And so, we have concerns about that as it relates to Americans' data -- collecting Americans' data and the potential national security risk. And we've been very, very clear on that."
Meanwhile, the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted Wednesday to approve a Bill that would give President Joe Biden the authority to ban TikTok in the United States despite objections from some lawmakers and advocates who say the measure could disrupt online speech freedoms, reported ABC News.
The Deterring America's Technological Adversaries Act -- or the DATA Act -- aims to create a legal framework that would allow the executive branch to ban TikTok and other apps owned by Chinese companies.
The Bill, introduced Friday by Committee Chair Mike McCaul, R-Texas, before moving quickly through the committee process, would allow President Biden or any future president to impose sanctions, including a possible ban, against any company that "knowingly provides or may transfer sensitive personal data" to any foreign person or company that is "subject to the jurisdiction or direction of ... China."
"Make no mistake, TikTok is a national security threat. It allows the CCP to manipulate and monitor its users while it gobbles up Americans' data to be used for their malign activities. Anyone with TikTok downloaded on their device has given the CCP permission and a back door to all their personal information. In other words, it's a spy balloon in your phone," McCaul said at the top of a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the bill on Tuesday.
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