Update: Sen. Paul blocked the bill on Tuesday night (watch his floor speech here)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) plans to block a bill introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) that would ban the popular video-sharing app TikTok, The Hill reported Wednesday.
Hawley’s bill, the No TikTok on United States Devices Act, would prohibit the app from being downloaded in the US and ban commercial activity with TikTok’s parent company, the China-based ByteDance.
The legislation is much narrower than the RESTRICT Act that was introduced in the Senate and has received 21 bipartisan cosponsors. The RESTRICT Act would give the Commerce Secretary sweeping powers to crack down on any transactions between US persons and so-called “foreign adversaries” relating to information and communication technology.
Hawley was hoping to pass his legislation by unanimous consent, but Paul has broken with the rest of the GOP and came out against banning TikTok, saying it would emulate China’s internet censorship. “If you don’t like TikTok or Facebook or YouTube, don’t use them. But don’t think any interpretation of the Constitution gives you the right to ban them,” Paul wrote in an op-ed for the Courier Journal.
The allegation is that since TikTok is Chinese-owned, it’s obligated to share user data with the Chinese government. TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew denied the allegations when he was grilled by Congress last week and said user data is “American data stored on American soil by an American company overseen by American personnel.”
Addressing the data claims, Paul said: “To those who are worried that the Chinese government might somehow now have access to millions of American teenagers’ information, realize that all social media sucks up personal data that people voluntarily provide.”
Paul also pointed out that TikTok is cooperating with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to “make sure all data on Americans is protected from any Chinese government snooping.” He also said TikTok has agreed to “house all the data on Oracle’s Cloud with access to US government oversight.”
The Kentucky senator pledged to uphold the Bill of Rights and said any attempt at a congressional ban would likely be overturned by the Supreme Court. “I hope saner minds will reflect on which is more dangerous: videos of teenagers dancing or the precedent of the US government banning speech. For me, it’s an easy answer, I will defend the Bill of Rights against all comers, even, if need be, from members of my own party,” he concluded.
11 thoughts on “Sen. Rand Paul to Block Sen. Josh Hawley’s Bill to Ban TikTok”
Sounds fair to me. I prefer to be responsible for myself and my own actions. When the government starts indicating it ‘wants to do this or that’, I start getting claustrophobic.
Exactly. Besides, if TikTok is such a menace on US society, our Intel have better ways of making that app useless.
It’s not “our Intel”. Rather the opposite actually.
Quite right. Covert security agencies variously act as spies, assassins, saboteurs, undercover paramilitary units, and a secret police force. None of those functions can honestly be described as an “intelligence” service. Intelligence is what universities are meant to provide.
“Covert security agencies variously act as spies, assassins, saboteurs, undercover paramilitary units, and a secret police force.”
they also routinely infiltrate discussion blogs pertaining to issues of importance with the intention of muddying the waters
Thank you Senator Paul, one of few voices of sanity and peace in this madhouse known as Congress.
Finally! No more warm and fuzzy names with hidden agenda like “The Patriot Act.” They’re calling it with a name that calls it as it is–“The Restrict Act!” (Sarcasm alert)
For ME, his bold move elevates him in my mind to hero status. And not just in my mind but in the history of resistance to the naked jingoism that infests American politicsal life all too often. And for him to do it during this hate fest of China and the pentagon openly talking of planning for war with them and conducting serial acts of rovocations on their front doorstep. His voice and opinions will now get my attention on a continuum.
There are 113 million users in the U.S. and a body of 100 Senators without any public input are going to try to ban it? It’s insane. Supposedly 47% are under age 30. A whole generation that will grow up looking at the government as being ridiculous. It’s a leech of a company like all the others but payout thresholds are less than Youtube and some people are making money there as well.
facebook and google both spy on the internet users
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