In his article for The Hill, Chris Mills Rodrigo covered the recent bill introduced by GOP lawmakers which would make it mandatory for apps considered to be national security threats to place warnings in their user interface. Specifically, apps like TikTok and FaceApp that are linked to China and Russia respectively, would be forced to warn users of the dangers of using said applications inside the United States. Representative Jim Banks stated that “some phone apps are fun and useful, others are counterintelligence threats”. He went on to say “Americans should know which is which before they hit the download button. Parents and consumers have a right to a warning that by downloading some apps like Russia’s FaceApp or China’s TikTok, their data may be used against the United States by an adversarial or enemy regime.” Countries including Venezuela, Syria, Sudan, Iran, and North Korea would also be forced to include warnings on their published applications. TikTok has responded to the bills introduction by stating “While we think the concerns about TikTok are unfounded, we understand them and are continuing to further strengthen our safeguards while increasing our dialogue with lawmakers to help explain our policies”.
I found this article to be particularly interesting as it demonstrated the growing concern among lawmakers in the United States about apps developed by nations considered to be adversarial to the interests of this country. As apps such as TikTok have exploded in popularity over the past year, calls for regulation of some kind have increased substantially as the reality of American data being used by rival nations increases in likelihood.