Biden mulling laws that could reopen scrutiny of TikTok

Washington, Feb 3: President Joe Biden is mulling new laws that could reopen US scrutiny of TikTok and other Chinese-owned social media applications, months after revoking restrictions on such apps set by his predecessor Donald Trump, The Washington Post reported.
The Commerce Department under the Biden administration is gathering public comments on new rules that would expand government oversight of apps that could be exploited “by foreign adversaries to steal or otherwise obtain data”, the Post reported, citing language commonly used by Trump during his trade battles with China.
“The Biden administration believes certain countries, including the People’s Republic of China (PRC), seek to leverage digital technologies and Americans’ data in ways that present unacceptable national security risks while advancing authoritarian controls and interests,” The Post quoted Saloni Sharma, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, as saying in a statement to the publication.
Trump started a trade war with China a year after he took office in 2017, and later targeted TikTok, which he accused of helping Beijing to spy on ordinary Americans via the personal information they used to register on the app. At the height of his campaign against TikTok, Trump tried to get the app shut down or sold off to a US-owned firm. However, before any of that materialized, he lost the presidency to Biden in the November 2020 election.
Biden, whose term began in January 2021, dropped all pending US action against Tiktok, telling a local court in July to dismiss Trump’s case against the app and its parent company ByteDance.
Biden has, however, had his own rocky relationship with Beijing, and has even left intact some of Trump’s original tariffs against China, indicating he might use them to pressure Beijing into making concessions on trade and other issues.