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US Senate is getting ready to ban TikTok in country due to data privacy

Published on 19.03.2024 by Tracey Chizoba Fletcher

Legislation aiming to restrict a widely used app, favored by millions across the U.S., swiftly cleared the House of Representatives within just a week. However, its journey is expected to encounter more hurdles in the Senate.

Senate of the US is getting for TikTok ban

The sudden legislative push has taken both TikTok and its vibrant community of creators and fans by surprise, sparking widespread concern. This unexpected surge in regulatory interest, surpassing previous efforts that didn't succeed, caught everyone off guard. Despite its strong passage in the House, the Senate has yet to introduce a similar proposal. It's unclear whether the Senate will show the same eagerness to specifically target a single technology firm with such specialized laws, considering other issues with the bill.

As the legislation made its way through the House, Senate members started to engage in discussions. Yet, influential figures like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, whose role includes organizing the Senate's agenda and garnering Democratic support, have remained reserved. Schumer mentioned that the Senate will examine the bill once it's transferred from the House. This could have been an opportunity to leverage the momentum from the House and muster backing. However, Schumer's stance is still tentative at this point.

TikTok and personal data protection in the US

Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, Maria Cantwell from Washington, echoed similar sentiments but also voiced her concern about foreign nations, like China, exploiting American personal data. "The issue of national security is critical, and it's commendable that members from both sides are addressing it with the seriousness it deserves," Cantwell shared with TechCrunch via email. Following the House's decision, she plans to collaborate with her counterparts in both the Senate and House to explore a viable solution that respects the constitution and civil liberties.

Cantwell's reference to the constitution alludes to the potential legal challenges over the First Amendment that might emerge if the legislation becomes law. TikTok has previously successfully challenged a state ban in Montana, arguing it was unconstitutional, a stance supported by a TikTok spokesperson who claimed the bill infringes on the constitutional right to free speech for 170 million Americans. This statement suggests the direction any forthcoming legal disputes might take.

Bill could be approved soon

While certain Senate members expressed hesitation, others were more forthright. The Senate Intelligence Committee's lead, Mark R. Warner of Virginia, alongside the committee's co-chair, Marco Rubio from Florida, promptly responded with a joint statement following the House's approval of the bill.