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The House votes for possible TikTok ban in the US, but don't expect the app to go away anytime soon

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The House votes for possible TikTok ban in the US, but don't expect the app to go away anytime soon
News

News

The House votes for possible TikTok ban in the US, but don't expect the app to go away anytime soon

2024-04-21 02:59 Last Updated At:03:00

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House passed legislation Saturday that would ban TikTok in the United States if the popular social media platform's China-based owner doesn’t sell its stake within a year, but don't expect the app to go away anytime soon.

The decision by House Republicans to include TikTok as part of a larger foreign aid package, a priority for President Joe Biden with broad congressional support for Ukraine and Israel, fast-tracked the ban after an earlier version had stalled in the Senate. A standalone bill with a shorter, six-month selling deadline passed the House in March by an overwhelming bipartisan vote as both Democrats and Republicans voiced national security concerns about the app’s owner, the Chinese technology firm ByteDance Ltd.

The modified measure, passed by a 360-58 vote, now goes to the Senate after negotiations that lengthened the timeline for the company to sell to nine months, with a possible additional three months if a sale is in progress.

Legal challenges could extend that timeline even further. The company has indicated that it would likely go to court to try and block the law if it passes, arguing it would deprive the app’s millions of users of their First Amendment rights.

TikTok has lobbied hard against the legislation, pushing the app’s 170 million U.S. users — many of whom are young — to call Congress and voice opposition. But the ferocity of the pushback angered lawmakers on Capitol Hill, where there is broad concern about Chinese threats to the U.S. and where few members use the platform themselves.

“We will not stop fighting and advocating for you,” TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew said in a video that was posted on the platform last month and directed toward the app’s users. “We will continue to do all we can, including exercising our legal rights, to protect this amazing platform that we have built with you.”

The bill’s quick path through Congress is extraordinary because it targets one company and because Congress has taken a hands-off approach to tech regulation for decades. Lawmakers had failed to act despite efforts to protect children online, safeguard users’ privacy and make companies more liable for content posted on their platforms, among other measures. But the TikTok ban reflects widespread concerns from lawmakers about China.

Members of both parties, along with intelligence officials, have worried that Chinese authorities could force ByteDance to hand over American user data or direct the company to suppress or boost TikTok content favorable to its interests. TikTok has denied assertions that it could be used as a tool of the Chinese government and has said it has not shared U.S. user data with Chinese authorities.

The U.S. government has not publicly provided evidence that shows TikTok shared U.S. user data with the Chinese government or tinkered with the company’s popular algorithm, which influences what Americans see.

The company has good reason to think a legal challenge could be successful, having seen some success in previous legal fights over its operations in the U.S.. In November, a federal judge blocked a Montana law that would ban TikTok use across the state after the company and five content creators who use the platform sued.

In 2020, federal courts blocked an executive order issued by then-President Donald Trump to ban TikTok after the company sued on the grounds that the order violated free speech and due process rights. His administration brokered a deal that would have had U.S. corporations Oracle and Walmart take a large stake in TikTok. The sale never went through for a number of reasons; one was China, which imposed stricter export controls on its technology providers.

Dozens of states and the federal government have put in place TikTok bans on government devices. Texas’ ban was challenged last year by The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, which argued in a lawsuit that the policy was impeding academic freedom because it extended to public universities. In December, a federal judge ruled in favor of the state.

Organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union have backed the app. “Congress cannot take away the rights of over 170 million Americans who use TikTok to express themselves, engage in political advocacy, and access information from around the world,” said Jenna Leventoff, a lawyer for the group.

Since mid-March, TikTok has spent $5 million on TV ads opposing the legislation, according to AdImpact, an advertising tracking firm. The ads have included a range of content creators, including a nun, extolling the positive impacts of the platform on their lives and arguing a ban would trample on the First Amendment. The company has also encouraged its users to contact Congress, and some lawmakers have received profanity-laced calls.

“It is unfortunate that the House of Representatives is using the cover of important foreign and humanitarian assistance to once again jam through a ban bill that would trample the free speech rights of 170 million Americans, devastate 7 million businesses, and shutter a platform that contributes $24 billion to the U.S. economy, annually,” said Alex Haurek, a spokesman for the company.

California Rep. Ro Khanna, a Democrat, voted against the legislation. He said he thinks there could have been less restrictive ways to go after the company that wouldn't result in a total ban or threaten free speech.

“I think it’s not going to be well received,” Khanna said. “It’s a sign of the Beltway being out of touch with where voters are.”

Nadya Okamoto, a content creator who has roughly 4 million followers on TikTok, said she has been having conversations with other creators who are experiencing “so much anger and anxiety” about the bill and how it’s going to impact their lives. The 26-year-old, whose company “August” sells menstrual products and is known for her advocacy around destigmatizing menstrual periods, makes most of her income from TikTok.

“This is going to have real repercussions,” she said.

Hadero reported from New York.

FILE - A man carries a Free TikTok sign in front of the courthouse where the hush-money trial of Donald Trump got underway April 15, 2024, in New York. The House has passed legislation Saturday, April 20, to ban TikTok in the U.S. if its China-based owner doesn't sell its stake, sending it to the Senate as part of a larger package of bills that would send aid to Ukraine and Israel. House Republicans' decision to add the TikTok bill to the foreign aid package fast-tracked the legislation after it had stalled in the Senate. The aid bill is a priority for President Joe Biden that has broad congressional support. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey, File)

FILE - A man carries a Free TikTok sign in front of the courthouse where the hush-money trial of Donald Trump got underway April 15, 2024, in New York. The House has passed legislation Saturday, April 20, to ban TikTok in the U.S. if its China-based owner doesn't sell its stake, sending it to the Senate as part of a larger package of bills that would send aid to Ukraine and Israel. House Republicans' decision to add the TikTok bill to the foreign aid package fast-tracked the legislation after it had stalled in the Senate. The aid bill is a priority for President Joe Biden that has broad congressional support. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey, File)

FILE - The TikTok Inc. building is seen in Culver City, Calif., March 17, 2023. The House has passed legislation Saturday, April 20, 2024, to ban TikTok in the U.S. if its China-based owner doesn't sell its stake, sending it to the Senate as part of a larger package of bills that would send aid to Ukraine and Israel. House Republicans' decision to add the TikTok bill to the foreign aid package fast-tracked the legislation after it had stalled in the Senate. The aid bill is a priority for President Joe Biden that has broad congressional support. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

FILE - The TikTok Inc. building is seen in Culver City, Calif., March 17, 2023. The House has passed legislation Saturday, April 20, 2024, to ban TikTok in the U.S. if its China-based owner doesn't sell its stake, sending it to the Senate as part of a larger package of bills that would send aid to Ukraine and Israel. House Republicans' decision to add the TikTok bill to the foreign aid package fast-tracked the legislation after it had stalled in the Senate. The aid bill is a priority for President Joe Biden that has broad congressional support. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

Next Article

42% of Companies Ready to Adopt Digital ID, New Regula Study Shows

2024-05-21 15:02 Last Updated At:15:11

RESTON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 21, 2024--

As more countries adopt the concept of digital identity, regulators are keen to showcase their plans and successes. But what do businesses think about this shift? To find out, Regula, a global developer of forensic devices and identity verification (IDV) solutions, commissioned a study to survey companies across different regions and industries to get a sense of their readiness, concerns, and expectations for digital identities.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20240521226453/en/

Digital identity is considered to be a way to improve the efficiency and security of services, reduce fraud, and enhance access to public services, ensuring that they are delivered quickly and to the right people. A digital ID is an online representation of an individual, which contains personal information, credentials, and attributes used to establish and authenticate identity in digital spaces. As such, digital identity is already a well-recognized concept in different sectors.

Perception. According to the Forrester Consulting study “ The New Imperative: Digital IDs,” 81% of large and enterprise-level companies from the Aviation, Banking, Government, IT, and Telecom sectors have at least a basic awareness of this technology, with almost half possessing a thorough understanding. Moreover, some countries and sectors, primarily those with advanced digital infrastructures and regulatory frameworks, as well as high customer online interaction frequencies, have already made a leap towards its adoption.

Implementation. Currently, 42% of organizations worldwide are actively integrating digital ID technologies into their systems, and 31% are in the early stages of implementation. Another 17% of respondents are now developing a strategic plan to begin this transformation.

The United Arab Emirates shows higher integration rates, where the majority of businesses (54%) have already moved to active integration. At the same time, places with stricter regulations, such as the US and Europe, are taking a more cautious approach, with only 37% and 39% of companies respectively claiming to be at the integration stage.

“As the Forrester experts note in the study, the complexities and disparities of global implementation across various landscapes highlight the strategic necessity of adopting a hybrid approach to digital IDs. Moreover, there is no single, universally accepted set of global standards for digital IDs that applies across all countries and sectors. Therefore, the large number of companies at the stage of active implementation demonstrates a growing need for frameworks and guidelines that aim to foster interoperability, security, and privacy across different digital ID systems. The good news is that several international organizations and standards bodies — New Technology Working Group in the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), etc. — are working towards those standards. This seems to be a case in which slow and steady wins the race,” said Ihar Kliashchou, Chief Technology Officer at Regula.

More insights on the survey results will be revealed during an upcoming webinar with Regula and European Telecommunications Standards Institute experts. Register to join the live discussion!

Methodology:

In January 2024, Regula commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a survey with 226 manager-level and higher decision makers responsible for their organizations’ ID verification solutions. The respondents were primarily from Europe, North America and the Middle East, with at least 500 employees or more.

About Regula

Regula is a global developer of forensic devices and identity verification solutions. With our 30+ years of experience in forensic research and the largest library of document templates in the world, we create breakthrough technologies in document and biometric verification. Our hardware and software solutions allow over 1,000 organizations and 80 border control authorities globally to provide top-notch client service without compromising safety, security or speed.

Regula was repeatedly named a Representative Vendor in the Gartner® Market Guide for Identity Verification.

Learn more at www.regulaforensics.com.

Regula study shows, that the majority of companies around the world are fully aware of digital IDs. Moreover, there are organizations, that have already started integrating this technology in their IDV procedures. (Graphic: Business Wire)

Regula study shows, that the majority of companies around the world are fully aware of digital IDs. Moreover, there are organizations, that have already started integrating this technology in their IDV procedures. (Graphic: Business Wire)

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