The Tiktok Ban Law: A New Threat to Privacy Laws

By Dan Zelyanovskyy

The 2023 Tiktok Ban Bill is threatening to violate modern privacy rights in order to have an app ban go through. The TikTok ban bill, which is already going into effect and is being considered in some states, will allow the government to directly control app store content and search devices for certain apps. It claims to have the ability “to develop standards for executive agencies that require TikTok and any successor application from the developer to be removed from agency information technology (e.g., devices)” ( Official government bill record). 

“A bipartisan bill that aims to give the administration the power to ban apps linked to foreign adversaries, including TikTok, is raising privacy concerns across the political spectrum.” (The Hill)

In the US, over 80 million people currently have the social media app known as TikTok installed. Due to recent complaints about underage usage, TikTok has been taken into a congressional trial to prevent its ban. As of now, Congress has not fully passed the bill, but it has passed the Senate and is being taken into consideration as of now. The law will allow the government to lawfully scan devices for the app and according to the bill, “make sure the removal goes through by any means…”. Fines for having the app installed could be upwards of $1,200. This includes the use of the TikTok website or any other products manufactured by the parent company, Byte Dance.

Overall this bill has good cause to exist. It is claimed that in the last year, overwhelming amounts of underage viewers have been seeing mature content, especially on TikTok. However, the drastic measures the government could take in order to take control of the situation could cost US citizens their privacy. The congressional hearing on March 23rd, 2023 showed government officials that as of now TikTok does not have the tools necessary to deal with the problem of underage app usage, as well as management of violent content across the app.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew,

Currently, it is not looking too good for TikTok and its CEO. It seems that the government is trying to control the content we see with drastic measures. Non-governmental officials and laypeople are saying that this bill is unlawful according to the privacy rules put in place by the government itself.

Interviewed individuals are saying they are unhappy with what could be the consequences of this bill. Some say “It’s crazy to think that this bill could actually get passed and just like that, take away our right for the usage of a simple app…” – LOJ student (name hidden as a privacy request).

In the future, the government will keep pressuring social media applications further and further due to their severe impacts on modern-day society. This could leave us, the people, without normalized privacy laws. The future of lawmaking and privacy systems is in our hands, and before any bill can affect us, it is the responsibility of the people to take care of themselves and their involvement in social media.

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