UPDATED 1:24 PM PT — Monday, November 18, 2019
Lawmakers are cracking down on social media platforms who are connected to China in an effort to protect American data. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced a bill Monday, which he says will cut the flow of sensitive data to China and other countries who threaten national security. The proposal will bar American businesses from storing data in China or other countries with similar threats, and will prohibit those platforms from sharing information.
The legislation would primarily impact companies like TikTok as it has ties to China and could possibly give the country access to information about its American users, such as peoples names and addresses. While the company says it stores American data only in the U.S., Sen. Hawley argues China-linked companies could be forced to hand over information under Chinese law.
“The parent company is a China-based company,” explained the Missouri lawmaker. “They’re subject to these restrictions and, frankly, they’re subject to having their doors opened at any time by the Chinese Communist Party under China’s law.”
The bill would also regulate international mergers, so businesses in China will no longer be allowed to buy U.S.-based companies who already have information on Americans unless the deal gets pre0approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment. Hawley believes this legislation will address national security concerns, which have been raised by Big Tech’s dealings with Beijing.