AFP Backs Legislation To Protect Americans From Apps Controlled By Foreign Adversaries

Mar 5, 2024 by AFP

Arlington, VA – In response to the introduction of The Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act by Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Americans for Prosperity Chief Government Affairs Officer Brent Gardner issued the following statement in support of the legislation.

“There is no question that recent advancements in technology and communication have helped lift and empower millions of people to change our world for the better. In many ways, AFP’s mission to elevate the voices of grassroots citizens to those in power has been aided by these advancements. But we also need to recognize that there are real threats to U.S. national security when these technologies are being deployed by foreign adversaries who wish to do us harm. There is mounting evidence that TikTok is that kind of security threat, and for that reason we fully support this legislation as an effort to remove the threats from more than 100 million phones in America.

“This support comes after two requirements were met by this bill to gain our support: 1) clear evidence of a foreign government’s involvement in malicious activities, and 2) a narrowly tailored approach focused solely on addressing that specific problem without implicating other tech platforms or companies. This ensures a targeted response to genuine national security threats while avoiding unnecessary entanglements or repercussions for tech platforms and companies. 

“The fact is that we live in a world where Americans’ phones are being weaponized against them by a foreign adversary, and we cannot sit back and let that happen. We would never want the U.S. federal government to have the power to censor, surveil, and manipulate Americans – we absolutely should not permit that abuse of power by the Chinese government through TikTok.”

Background from the Bill SummaryThere is an urgent concern surrounding TikTok, which is controlled by a foreign adversary, and their detrimental impact on U.S. national security. These apps serve as conduits for potential surveillance and manipulation of American citizens, posing significant risks to data security and public discourse. To address this threat, the proposed legislation adopts a two-pronged approach: firstly, by restricting app store availability and web hosting services for ByteDance-controlled applications, including TikTok, unless they sever ties with entities under foreign adversary control as defined by Congress. Secondly, the bill offers ByteDance a defined window to divest, with exemptions available upon completing a qualified divestment.