TikTok Ban Unites Senators

John Lister's picture

A bill to boost US technology has received rare bipartisan support in the Senate. The proposed law includes measures on drones, computer chips and video app TikTok.

While the "Endless Frontier Act" includes many measures targeted at the US, it also includes several that directly target China. They are intended to address fears not just of tech competition but also security threats.

The bill passed the Senate by 68 votes to 32. President Biden has indicated he would back the bill, though it's not yet certain it will pass the House of Representatives in its current form. Some critics who are on board with the security elements say they aren't comfortable with government spending that could influence the priorities of research by businesses. (Source: time.com)

Bill Tackles Chip Shortage

The biggest part of the bill is authorization for nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars of spending. Most of that would go on increasing research and development in technology.

The bill would also authorize $52 billion in emergency subsidies for US producers of semiconductors. That's a response to a global shortage that has meant delays in manufacturing on devices as diverse as automobiles and games consoles that need computer chips.

As well as the spending, the bill also contains legal measure involving China. Perhaps the most eye-catching is a proposed ban on installing TikTok on any government phone or tablet. The hugely popular app is owned by a Chinese company.

Critics say they aren't necessarily worried that the app developers could use it to gather and share sensitive data from devices, rather that the Chinese government may force them to do so.

Chinese State Drones Outlawed

The bill could also ban US residents from purchasing drones made or sold by businesses controlled by the Chinese government. It would also severely limit any involvement or cooperation between Chinese organizations and NASA. (Source: bbc.co.uk)

If passed, the bill would also give the government the authority to impose sanctions on Chinese organizations that either stole the intellectual property of US companies or were involved with cyber attacks on the US. This would be the case even where it wasn't possible to pursue the organizations through the courts.

What's Your Opinion?

Would you like to see the bill become law? Is it right to subsidize semiconductor manufacturing to boost industries that use computer chips? Should laws be restricting specific apps based solely on the risk of security breaches?

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mrkewlohio's picture

It is nice that our government is trying to subsidize US chips but.....I would be afraid "our" government would/could force spyware into said chips to "spy" on any and everyone, including our allies and the normal users any and everywhere. Not like it's NOT already being done...