Brendan Carr, one of the five commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is calling on the US government to ban TikTok, the Chinese-owned video app, on the basis of national security, according to a report by Axios.
“There simply isn’t a world in which you could come up with sufficient protection on the data that you could have sufficient confidence that it’s not finding its way back into the hands of the [Chinese Communist Party],” Carr said.
Carr previously raised concerns about Chinese telecom companies, including Huawei, which has been banned from the US under the Secure Equipment Act which was signed into law on November 2021.
Former president Donald Trump’s administration previously tried to ban TikTok in 2020, and then ordered ByteDance, its China-based parent company, to divest TikTok to a US company, but it did not happen.
TikTok is currently negotiating a deal with the Council on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), an interagency committee assigned to conduct national security reviews of foreign companies’ deals, to see whether ByteDance can divest TikTok to a US-owned company.
The Justice Department is leading the negotiations with TikTok, and as reported by the New York Times in September, while the two parties have started to put together a deal, top DOJ official Lisa Monaco raised concerns over how the deal was not “tough enough” for China, as it would only make changes to its data security and governance and not require ByteDance to sell it to a US company.
“I don’t believe there is a path forward for anything other than a ban,” Carr said, highlighting concerning revelations about how the video giant handles US user data. The app could also be used to surveil certain American citizens and influence political processes in the US.
Axios also quoted Democratic Senator Mark Warner who said that “this is not something you would normally hear me say, but Donald Trump was right on TikTok years ago,” harking back to when liberals downplayed the risks of the app. “If your country uses Huawei, if your kids are on TikTok … the ability for China to have undue influence is a much greater challenge and a much more immediate threat than any kind of actual, armed conflict.”
Information for this briefing was found via Axios, the New York Times, Buzzfeed, and the companies and sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.