Days after India banned 59 Chinese apps over national security concerns, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday said that the United States was “looking at” banning China-based social media apps, including popular short-form video sharing application TikTok.
“I don’t want to get out in front of the President (Donald Trump), but it’s something we’re looking at,” Pompeo said in an interview.
Report said, several US lawmakers have raised concerns over TikTok’s handling of user data. They expressed their worries, saying that Chinese law requires country-based firms “to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.”
Pompeo’s remarks have come days after he backed New Delhi’s decision to ban TikTok and certain other Chinese apps, saying the move will boost India’s sovereignty. They also come amid rising tensions between US and China most recently due to the Hong Kong national security law.
US lawmakers have expressed national security concerns over the way TikTok handles users’ data, saying as per the Chinese laws, domestic companies should “support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party”.
Notably, TikTok, a video app owned by China-based ByteDance, is not available in China. Of late, India has banned TikTok along with 58 other Chinese apps amid border tensions with China.
Pompeo’s remarks came at a time when the tensions between the US and China have heightened over the way Beijing handled the COVID-19 outbreak, the Asian country’s actions in Hong Kong and an around two-year trade war.
Last week, Pompeo had welcomed India’s ban on 59 Chinese apps, saying: “We welcome India’s ban on certain mobile apps that can serve as appendages of the CCP’s surveillance state. India’s ‘clean app’ approach will boost India’s sovereignty, will also boost India’s integrity and national security as the Indian government itself has stated.”
While briefing reporters in Washington, Pompeo had also hailed the action taken by US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) head Ajit Pai against two Chinese technology companies.
“I applaud FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s for designating Huawei and ZTE as national security risks,” he had said.
India’s Electronics and Information Technology Ministry had last month banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, saying they paved the way for “elements hostile to national security and defence” to exploit them to “ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India”.