White House Backs "TikTok Bill"


The White House immediately endorsed a bipartisan Senate bill introduced Thusday to prevent national security risks posed by technology services from companies like China’s TikTok, which is increasingly being banned from government smartphones.

The Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology Act would comprehensively address the ongoing threat posed by technology from foreign adversaries by better empowering the Commerce Department to review, prevent and mitigate information communications and technology transactions that pose undue risk to our national security, according to its sponsors.

The legislation was introduced yesterday by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va) and John Thune (R- SD), along with 12 other senators.   White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the Administration is urging Congress to quickly approve the legislation and get it to the President’s desk for his signature.

“This bill presents a systematic framework for addressing technology-based threats to the security and safety of Americans,” Mr. Sullivan said. “This legislation would provide the US government with new mechanisms to mitigate the national security risks posed by high-risk technology businesses operating in the United States.

“Critically, it would strengthen our ability to address discrete risks posed by individual transactions, and systemic risks posed by certain classes of transactions involving countries of concern in sensitive technology sectors. This will help us address the threats we face today, and also prevent such risks from arising in the future.”

Not Just Tik Tok

While the bill has been called a reaction to TikTok, the legislation is meant to address a bigger  threat, Sen. Warner commented. “We need a comprehensive, risk-based approach that proactively tackles sources of potentially dangerous technology before they gain a foothold in America, so we aren’t playing Whac-A-Mole and scrambling to catch up once they’re already ubiquitous.”

The bill establishes a risk-based process, tailored to the rapidly changing technology and threat environment, by directing Commerce to identify and mitigate foreign threats to information and communications technology products and services.

The bill would:

  • require the Secretary of Commerce to establish procedures to identify, deter, disrupt, prevent, prohibit and mitigate transactions involving information and communications technology products in which any foreign adversary has any interest and poses undue or unacceptable risk to national security;
  • prioritize evaluation of information communications and technology products used in critical infrastructure, integral to telecommunications products, or pertaining to a range of defined emerging, foundational and disruptive technologies with serious national security implications;
  • ensure comprehensive actions to address risks of untrusted foreign information communications and technology products by requiring the Secretary to take up consideration of concerning activity identified by other government entities; and
  • educate the public and business community about the threat by requiring the Secretary of Commerce to coordinate with the Director of National Intelligence to provide declassified information on how transactions denied or otherwise mitigated posed undue or unacceptable risk.

In addition to Sens. Warner and Thune, the legislation is co-sponsored by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc), Deb Fischer (R-Neb), Joe Manchin (D-WVa), Jerry Moran (R-Kans), Michael Bennet (D-Colo), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah).


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here