In a bid to keep US data safe, all federal agencies must eliminate TikTok from phones and systems and prohibit internet traffic from reaching the company, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young told agencies in a guidance memorandum seen by Reuters news agency.
On Tuesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will vote on a bill that would give President Joe Biden the authority to ban TikTok from all US devices.
The order comes almost a year after Congress voted to prohibit federal employees from using the Chinese-owned video-sharing app on government devices and gave the Biden administration 60 days to enforce the ban.
The vote comes in the wake of security concerns raised by US lawmakers that Beijing uses Chinese companies to snoop on Americans.
“My bill empowers the administration to ban TikTok or any software applications that threaten U.S. national security,” Representative Mike McCaul, the committee chair, said.
“Anyone with TikTok downloaded on their device has given the (Chinese Communist Party) a backdoor to all their personal information. It’s a spy balloon into your their phone.”
Many government agencies had already banned TikTok from government devices before the vote. They are: the White House, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department.
The US is the latest entrant to ban TikTok from being installed on government devices. Canada, the EU, Taiwan and more than half of the US states had already taken necessary action in this regard.
Whereas India went a step further and banned the video-sharing app for commercial proposes in the wake of the 2020 Galwan Valley clashes, where a brawl between Indian and Chinese forces in Ladakh, a Himalayan border region, left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead, while Beijing didn’t disclose the number of fatalities on its side.