Top GOP Rep. Says Congress Should Pass A TikTok Ban And A Federal Data Privacy Law
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 23: Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee speaks during the hearing with TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill on March 23, 2023 in Washington, DC. The hearing was a rare opportunity for lawmakers to question the leader of the short-form social media video app about the company's relationship with its Chinese owner, ByteDance, and how they handle users' sensitive personal data. Some local, state, and federal government agencies have been banning the use of TikTok by employees, citing concerns about national security. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairwoman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) said Sunday that Congress should pass a ban on TikTok and a federal data privacy law.

Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, McMorris Rodgers said that TikTok’s relationship with the Chinese company ByteDance is a threat to the privacy and safety of American citizens but added that the U.S. needs a national data privacy law to stop other tech giants from stealing Americans’ data.

“What we are seeing is that TikTok and Mr. Chew have repeatedly been caught in this lie that there’s not a connection to ByteDance and ultimately the [Chinese Communist Party],” McMorris Rodgers said. “So they cannot be trusted to protect our data. They cannot be trusted to ensure that our children’s mental health is a priority.”

“We need a national data privacy standard also,” she continued. “And that’s what Ranking Member [Frank] Pallone (D-NJ) and I have worked on and we’re going to introduce this Congress, because we need to take action, whether it’s TikTok, big tech, or other data brokers, to restrict the amount of data that they’re collecting to begin with.”

“We need to ensure that individuals have the right to know what their profile might be or it — or to be alerted if their information, their personal data is being accessed or transferred to another country like China. We need to protect kids, and we have the strongest protections for kids in the privacy proposal that we have been working on to protect anyone under the age of 17. And we need to stop this listening on devices of people.”

McMorris Rodgers said that a ban on TikTok should take priority.

“I would say there’s an immediate threat via TikTok from the Chinese Communist Party, that is the reason that I believe we need to ban TikTok immediately.”

New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for a national data privacy law on Saturday while at the same time defending TikTok from a bipartisan effort to ban the Chinese-owned app.

AOC said that banning TikTok “doesn’t really address the core of the issue, which is the fact that major social media companies are allowed to collect troves of deeply personal data about you that you don’t know about, without really any significant regulation whatsoever.”

“In fact, the United States is one of the only developed nations in the world that has no significant data or privacy protection laws on the books,” she said. Instead of banning TikTok, which has 150 million users, outright, the answer is to “actually protect Americans from this kind of egregious data harvesting that companies can do without your significant ability to say no,” she added.

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