Legislation barring government employees from using the TikTok app moved forward in the Senate Wednesday.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs approved the legislation, championed by Florida Sen. Rick Scott.
The House of Representatives has already approved similar legislation.
Scott extolled Wednesday’s committee approval.
“There’s no reason Americans should subject themselves to security risks posed by Communist China. I’m proud to work with [Sen. Josh Hawley] on this bill to ban TikTok on government devices & I look forward to the full Senate quickly passing it.”
The ban would apply not just to TikTok itself, but also to any successor technology from TikTok parent company ByteDance.
Exceptions would be made, however, for counter-surveillance and intelligence activities, as well as for investigations and disciplinary activity.
For Scott, TikTok represents a fulcrum of issues, including increased Chinese dominance over American life and the seeming inability of Americans to see what is happening.
The Senator has discussed what he sees as the app’s malign influence since March, calling the platform “a risk to our networks and a threat to our national security.”
The Senator contended that every Chinese citizen is required by law to spy on behalf of the central government.
The Senator has been unrelenting in rhetorical criticism of the Chinese Communist Party in the year and a half since he has been in the Senate, making a push in global media to enlist allies in what he has called a “New Cold War” with Beijing.
While Scott’s ban would only apply to devices operated by government employees, one country has already instituted a full-scale ban.
India, as the BBC reported, banned a swath of Chinese apps in June, saying they were “mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defense of India.”