MIL-OSI USA: Huffman Statement on Vote for the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act

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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Jared Huffman Representing the 2nd District of California

March 12, 2024

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Jared Huffman (CA-02) released the following statement regarding his plan to vote in favor of H.R. 7521, the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act:

“The national security threats surrounding TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, are real and urgent. ByteDance is controlled by the Chinese government which has already directed the company to modify its platform in several countries to advance China’s political agenda, including election interference. With social media companies like TikTok wielding significant influence over tens of millions of Americans, we must prevent foreign adversaries from using the platform to foment malign disinformation campaigns, track or surveil Americans, and/or access the sensitive private data of American users. Indeed, it appears that the Chinese government, through ByteDance, has already begun to politically weaponize TikTok by sending an alarmist “push alert” urging their users – including children – to call members of Congress and demand that they oppose H.R. 7521. Based on ByteDance’s pattern of politically manipulating TikTok to serve Chinese government interests in other countries, and their recent actions in the United States, I concur with our intelligence agencies: allowing ByteDance to continue owning and controlling TikTok in the United States presents a clear and present danger to our national security. 

“For these reasons, I will vote “yes” tomorrow on H.R. 7521, and I also look forward to voting “yes” next week on broader legislation to address the problem of data brokers purchasing private information from American social media companies and selling it to foreign adversaries. 

“Let me be clear: I do not want to ban TikTok, nor do I think my vote to pass H.R. 7521 will have that effect. The intent of this legislation is to force a change in ownership – to force ByteDance to divest – so that this popular application can continue to be used and enjoyed by millions of Americans without the risk that the Chinese government will use its control over the platform to threaten the integrity of our elections and/or undermine our national security. However, I do have a substantive concern about the bill that I urge the Senate to address. As written, the ownership change is required to happen within 180 days or else the application would cease to be available on online app stores or web hosting services. This timeline does not allow for completion of antitrust review under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, which can take up to a year or more. Unless this problem is corrected in the Senate, TikTok and any other social media platforms subject to the legislation would be forced to go offline temporarily even if an acquisition happens quickly. I urge the Senate to amend the bill to ensure that penalties do not take effect during the antitrust review process for a pending acquisition,” Huffman concluded.  

A copy of H.R. 7521 can be found here.

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