August 7, 2020
New Executive Order Starts the Clock on Potential TikTok Ban
Last night President Trump signed executive orders that will prohibit any U.S. person or company from transacting with the parent companies of the popular apps TikTok and WeChat in 45 days, effectively banning their use in the United States. While consumers should be cognizant of these apps’ ties to China and the data collection practices they use, potential national security risks could have been alleviated in more targeted ways, contends AAF’s Director of Technology and Innovation Policy Jennifer Huddleston. Banning an app via executive order has the potential to splinter the internet and to set concerning precedent for government action in this market, she argues.
The latest executive order attempts to respond to concerns about national security. Consumers should carefully consider if they are comfortable with the unique risks involved with TikTok when choosing whether to use the app. Nevertheless, a more targeted policy approach would be better than a complete ban. Such an approach would balance the potential national security risks while continuing the competitive approach to technology that has allowed innovation to flourish and new entrants to compete with existing tech giants.