TikTok downloads on US government devices may soon be not allowed. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously passed a bill that would ban US federal workers from downloading the popular app TikTok onto US government devices, Senator Josh Hawley, a bill sponsor, said in a press statement on Wednesday.
The US Senate unanimously approved a similar measure in August 2020. Representative Ken Buck has introduced a similar bill in the House.
The app, which is popular with teens eager to show off dance moves, has come under fire in the United States because of concerns over its Chinese owner, ByteDance. TikTok has sought to distance itself from Beijing with mixed success.
Hawley called the company “an immediate security threat.”
“This should not be a partisan issue and I’m glad to see my colleagues in the Senate act together to address Beijing’s covert data collection campaign,” Hawley said in a statement after the vote.
Last month, TikTok faced a London lawsuit on behalf of millions of children in the UK and Europe over privacy concerns. The app and ByteDance were accused of violating UK and European Union data protection laws. The suit seeks to stop TikTok from “illegally processing millions of childrens’ information” and demands any personal information is deleted.
Every child that has used the app since May 2018, regardless of their account status or privacy settings, may have had their private personal information collected for the benefit of unknown third parties, according to the suit filed by Anne Longfield, England’s former Children’s Commissioner.
The case follows increased scrutiny of the app by several EU data watchdogs. Last year, EU data-protection regulators pledged to coordinate potential investigations into the Chinese company, establishing a task force to get a better understanding of “TikTok’s processing and practices.”