AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Sunday House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., tweeted “The House will be moving forward with legislation to protect Americans from the technological tentacles of the Chinese Communist Party.”
The statement comes after a week where congress grilled TikTok’s CEO with a series of questions and statements regarding national security, data privacy, the spread of misinformation and safety for minors.
McCarthy told reporters last week that he supported Congress moving to ban the app, but said he wanted to “make sure we get it right,” according to reporting from The Hill.
This comes as the Wall Street Journal reports a potential ban on Tik Tok could be just the tip of the iceberg regarding the economic battle between China and the U.S.
Former State Department Special Agent Ron Holloway talked with KXAN about the future of TikTok and what U.S. – China relations could look like moving forward.
Q&A on the future of TikTok
Tom Miller: Why is it that America would consider banning TikTok, and [what are] its concerns over China?
Ron Holloway: You have the element of the technology, actually collecting data, metadata, behavioral habits, privacy data, you have that element. You have the element of an influence platform because they really want to influence us. So are they going to be able to [have] people put things in front of people that are going to cause them to be scared? And then also, there’s the political side of it. It’s one of the political rows of the week.
TM: Could TikTok be just the tip of the iceberg? Do you see this being a situation where other Chinese companies have their products banned?
RH: I think it’s a good probability. We look at our national security priorities. And they’re shifting right now in light of what’s going on in the world.
TM: Looking forward, is it possible that this expands beyond China where it gets to a point where if you are not an ally of the U.S., you could potentially have concerns about companies being banned from other countries?
RH: Yes, I think if things progress toward greater conflict and division, and we are seeing a shift in the world order, some older players have decided to step up and make their move. So on that economic front, not being dependent on those adversarial countries for our well-being would make sense.
TM: How much of this with TikTok do you think is really about privacy and cybersecurity and how much of it is just about winning that [economic] race?
RH: I think mostly right now is about national security. You can’t separate technological advancement from national security. So it’s not an either-or. We do need to stay technologically ahead.