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Khanna explains opposition to TikTok bill as senators signal openness

Rep. Ro Khanna laid out his case against a sweeping ban on social media platform TikTok on Sunday after opposing the legislation that overwhelmingly passed the House last week, while two senators expressed their opening to the bill.

“What's the real evidence that you can't pass a data privacy law or a law prohibiting the transfer of data to a foreign country, and do it that way? Mr. Khanna, a progressive Democrat from California, said on ABC's “This Week.” “The frustrating thing is that we haven't been able to get these data privacy laws passed. These laws would also cover data brokers who sell data to Chinese companies. This bill does not actually solve this problem.

Fifty Democrats – mostly from the progressive wing of the party – voted against the House bill, citing concerns about violating Americans' rights to free speech and harming small business owners. businesses that rely on TikTok for their marketing and sales. The law project passed in the House on Wednesday352 to 65.

The legislation requires TikTok parent company ByteDance to sell its U.S. assets within six months of signing the bill or face an outright ban in the United States. Supporters of the measure fear that the Chinese government will have access to the data of around 150 million US residents who use the video app and influence US public debate by tweak the app's algorithms in its favor.

While acknowledging concerns raised by TikTok critics, Mr. Khanna said on Sunday that security threats from the Chinese government could be combatted more effectively with “a narrowly tailored law” that prohibits any transfer of Americans' private data to China and other foreign entities. .

The United States does not have a federal data privacy law that restricts the sale of personal data, potentially allow foreign entities to purchase private information millions of Americans. Mr. Khanna, whose congressional district includes Silicon Valley, has pledged for years to embrace a new law which places restrictions on the ability of technology companies to collect and profit from their users' data.

While expressing sympathy for calls to ban TikTok, two of Mr. Khanna's colleagues in the Senate — a Democrat and a Republican — did not express full support for the House bill on Sunday.

Sen. Ben Cardin, Democrat of Maryland and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said on NBC's “Meet the Press” that he was willing to support the House bill, but would not had not made a final decision.

“We will see how the Senate wants to approach this issue,” Mr. Cardin said. “But I would like us to get to the finish line and provide the necessary guardrails.”

Senator Bill Cassidy, Republican of Louisiana, partly echoed Mr. Cardin's sentiments while emphasizing the need for swift action against TikTok.

“I would like to see the final text, but I am certainly predisposed to vote for it,” Mr. Cassidy said. “Anyone who doesn’t think the Chinese Communist Party wants to influence the way we think in our country simply doesn’t understand what they’re doing.”

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