A leader of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission said he has asked Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores over data security concerns. Pictured here is the TikTok download page on an Apple iPhone on August 7, 2020.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images News | Getty Images
WASHINGTON — A highly anticipated bipartisan Senate bill to give the president the authority to respond to threats posed by TikTok and companies like it will be unveiled Tuesday afternoon by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner, a committee spokeswoman told CNBC.
The Virginia Democrat will hold a 3 p.m. ET press conference with South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune, the lead co-sponsor of the legislation.
The precise text of the legislation has yet to be released, but Warner suggested this past weekend that the bill will not be limited simply to reining in TikTok, which is owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance.
“In terms of foreign technology coming into America, we’ve got to have a systemic approach to make sure we can ban or prohibit it when necessary,” Warner said on Fox News Sunday.
“TikTok is one of the potentials,” that could be targeted by the bill, Warner said. “They are taking data from Americans, not keeping it safe.”
“But what worries me more with TikTok is that this could be a propaganda tool. The kind of videos you see would promote ideological issues,” he added.
Warner’s bill comes nearly a week after the House Foreign Affairs Committee advanced a Republican-sponsored bill that aims to do much of the same thing.
The House legislation passed the GOP-controlled committee 24-16 along party lines, with unanimous GOP support and no Democratic votes.
Dubbed the Deterring America’s Technological Adversaries, or DATA, Act, the House bill mandates that the president impose broad sanctions on companies based in or controlled by China that engage in the transfer of the “sensitive personal data” of Americans to entities or individuals based in, or controlled by, China.
And while the DATA Act has advanced beyond its committee of jurisdiction, it was unclear Monday when, or if, it would receive a vote in the full House.
Bills that authorize U.S. President Joe Biden to rein in Chinese companies that collect Americans’ personal data have gained steam in recent months, as talks between TikTok and the Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. have stalled.
CFIUS, which evaluates risks associated with foreign investment deals, is scrutinizing ByteDance’s 2017 purchase of Musical.ly.
TikTok hopes the CFIUS probe will ultimately result in a deal between the company and the government to address data privacy issues while protecting the company’s ability to operate in the United States.
“The swiftest and most thorough way to address national security concerns is for CFIUS to adopt the proposed agreement that we worked with them on for nearly two years,” TikTok spokeswoman Brooke Oberwetter told CNBC last week.
But as the CFIUS probe drags on without resolution, the White House has reportedly begun to focus more energy on the potential of Congress to clear a legal path for Biden to take action against companies that pose a national security threat.
Within the administration, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has emerged as a point person in this effort.
“There’s a number of members in the U.S. Senate who are thinking hard about what’s the right way to protect American national security,” Raimondo said in a recent interview with Bloomberg News.
“We will work with Congress to figure out the right way to legislate to protect America from these concerns,” she added.
Last Monday, the Biden administration released new implementation rules for a TikTok ban that applies only to federal government-owned devices, which was passed by Congress in December.
TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, is scheduled to appear as a witness at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on March 23.
CNBC’s Mary Catherine Wellons contributed reporting to this story.