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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today joined America’s Newsroom on Fox News to discuss the RESTRICT Act, his new bipartisan legislation that would establish a risk-based process to identify and mitigate foreign threats to information and communications technology.
On the need to establish a rules-based process for determining foreign adversary technology risks:
“All the authorities that the president has to deal with these types of threats come from a pre-digital age. We live in the digital age now, and these applications are prolific. And there are some, clearly, that have national security implications.
“You know, we have evidence that TikTok or that the mother company to TikTok, Bytedance, actually was accessing the non-public information of American users of that platform. And we all know that China is an adversary and is doing everything they can to spy on Americans.
“So I think this is just something that we need to do to be vigilant, to create a process where we can review, examine, and determine whether or not we need to block some of those apps, whether we need to mitigate those risks, how we go about that, but it’s high time for Congress to be heard from.”
On the risks posed by platforms like TikTok:
“I think that's the important thing for people to understand because a lot of people, there are a lot of users of TikTok in this country, and of course, they don't want to hear about this conversation. But it's important for them to understand that their information, private data, may very well be being stolen and accessed by the Chinese government.
“And of course, TikTok, Bytedance, again, the parent company, are very closely connected to the Chinese Communist Party. And I think it's important for us to take all steps we can to mitigate the risks to America's national security interest, and to prevent the Chinese from spying on Americans.
“And so, I think it's important for Americans to understand that, yes, some of these apps, they're fun, and they create a connectivity out there, but they need to be safe, and they need to be free from the types of national security risks that we think some of these apps, particularly those that are hosted in China, pose to America's national security.”
On the need for greater transparency and accountability in big tech:
“I think as a general matter, we need more accountability. We need more transparency from the social media platforms, and I’ve got another couple of pieces of legislation that deal with that.
“But these algorithms that kick in, they keep feeding people, they get into bubbles. And in many cases, it's a lot of stuff that I certainly know parents would not want their kids exposed to, but there’s just a lot of dangerous elements to this stuff, and I think we've all got to be vigilant in how kids the content they see and how it's being used.”