U.S. senators Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and John Thune (R-SD) proposed the Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology Act (RESTRICT) on March 7. If the bill were to pass, it would give the government the power to act against technological companies if they pose a national security threat to Americans.
According to RESTRICT Act/Warner, this bill would create a system where the Department of Commerce would review and identify foreign threats to technology products and services.
Once the review and evaluation conclude, the risks would be addressed and President Joe Biden could issue a ban on certain apps. The Secretary of Commerce, Gina M. Raimondo and Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines would be required to provide declassified information on how and why the product or service poses a threat to national security, according to RESTRICT Act/Warner.
Carolyn Bekhor, chair of the department of legal studies at the University of La Verne, said it is good to establish a system to thoroughly review the apps Americans use and rely on. She said Americans should be aware of how the information they are sharing on any app is being collected, used and who can access it. Bekhor said, Americans have become used to sharing their lives and personal information by giving up their privacy and sometimes not realizing it.
“If I’m sharing on an app that may be inappropriately taking my identifying information I would want to know and make the decision to use the app or not,” Bekhor said.
Although the RESTRICT Act goes beyond social media sites, some lawmakers believe TikTok poses a national security risk. According to CNN, they have said TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, a Chinese tech company, could be forced to provide access to the app’s U.S. user data to the Chinese government. According to TikTok CEO’s Message to Washington, TikTok’s CEO, Shou Chew, has said they have not received requests for that, and the company would not comply with it if asked.
Bekhor said American culture is transmitted in many ways through other services and apps. She said it is a global app that is bringing other cultures into the U.S. as well. If TikTok were to be banned it would close communication among all its users, not only American culture.
“We see people from around the world on TikTok,” Bekhor said. “Life in other places, but there are other apps that do the same thing.”
According to, TikTok banned on gov’t phones in US, AP News, President Biden, has banned TikTok from all federal and government mobile phones and devices, due to the fear of national security.
In addition to President Joe Biden’s banning of TikTok, Orange County has also issued a ban of this platform. According to, Los Angeles Times, O.C. Bans TikTok from government devices, the Orange County Board of Supervisors said TikTok will not be able to be viewed, downloaded, or used on government devices used by county employees.
TikTok is not only used for entertainment, but also as a marketing tool. Many businesses rely on TikTok to help market their products, services and restaurants.
Mark Garcia, a senior e-commerce major, said he does not spend too much time on TikTok but does check out what is trending if he has free time.
“If I see a location, food site, or a new place that is being established pop up on my feed, I usually go check it out,” Garcia said.
The app is worldwide, and users vary in age. Some of them are kids and although TikTok has content restrictions in place, they run the risk of being exposed to certain content that could be inappropriate.
Hanan Casas, an elementary school psychologist, said sometimes it is hard for parents to monitor their kids and the use of it could affect their social skills. She said although she does not believe it should be banned, it should be more regulated.
“The social-emotional abilities of kids are being affected by the influence that TikTok has on them,” Casas said. “Kids learn from what they watch on there, but if it’s something negative it could be a risk to themselves or others.”
In other states such as Oklahoma, TikTok has been banned from certain public places. Oklahoma-based podcast host, Darwin Ortiz, said users are not able to access the app at establishments like the DMV or universities. He uses TikTok to promote his Patabajo El Podcast, a podcast which he hosts with two other friends. Patabajo El Podcast’s page has 575.5K followers and 10.5M likes on the app.
He started his podcast on YouTube, but TikTok has been a big factor in their growth and they have built a solid community with their followers. The app fits their brand and keeps their followers engaged with their content.
“If TikTok were to disappear, it would slow down our growth,” Ortiz said. “But we have to be patient and keep doing what we’re doing, and we’ll be rewarded eventually.”
Amy Alcantara can be reached at email@example.com.