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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Lawmakers urge US Senate to approve bill that contemplates TikTok ban

By The Star Staff

Rep. José Aponte Hernández, along with at-large Rep. José “Quiquito” Meléndez Ortiz, asked the U.S. Senate on Tuesday to approve the legislation that orders the Chinese company ByteDance to cede its control over the TikTok video application within a period of one year or the U.S. government will ban its use permanently.

“This is a matter of national security,” Aponte said. “Last Saturday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved, among the security measures such as the $61 billion for Ukraine, a bill that establishes that if ByteDance does not sell TikTok in 12 months, then the federal government will ban its use throughout the United States, including Puerto Rico. That measure, with support from both Republicans and Democrats, will be evaluated for approval today [Tuesday]. Our call to the senators is to vote in favor of this bill, thus sending a clear message about the importance of this issue.”

Meléndez added that “I’ve always pushed for the banning of this app because of our children’s exposure to adult content, as TikTok doesn’t have the best filters to protect children.”

“Now comes the matter of national security, because the Chinese communist government can use ByteDance’s data to surveil U.S. citizens and even influence people with material about communism, for example,” he said. “In 2017, communist China passed legislation that forces companies, such as ByteDance, which owns TikTok, to exchange data with the Chinese government on intelligence matters, including user information and content. The Puerto Rican government’s cyber infrastructure, which has suffered a series of attacks as in other jurisdictions, could also be at the mercy of this law from communist China, which is expanding in the Caribbean.”

TikTok currently has an estimated 170 million users nationwide, including in Puerto Rico.

President Joe Biden has already indicated that he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

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