The Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives passed a draft resolution granting the US President new powers to block the “Tik Tok” application and other foreign applications in the United States.
TikTok is a short video sharing app owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, which is under scrutiny in several countries due to privacy and surveillance concerns.
The Republican-led House Foreign Affairs Committee passed the "Deterring America's Technology Adversaries" bill, but the text will face opposition from free speech activists and Democrats when it comes to a vote in the House and Senate.
But the Committee Chairman, Republican Representative Mike McCaul, who submitted the draft resolution, expressed his belief that the House of Representatives will vote in the near future on the draft resolution.
"Make no mistake, TikTok poses a security threat. It allows (China) to manipulate and monitor its users while collecting Americans' data for their malicious activities," he added.
The proposed legislation amends a law passed in the 1980s that prevents the government from restricting the free flow of visual entertainment between foreign countries, by adding an exception related to "sensitive personal data".
The proposed legislation would require the administration to impose penalties - including bans - on companies bent on knowingly giving TikTok user data to "any foreign person" with ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
For its part, TikTok spokeswoman Brooke Oberwetter said the company was "disappointed to see this hasty piece of legislation moving forward" in Congress.
"The American ban on TikTok is a ban on exporting American culture and values to more than a billion people who use its service around the world," she added in a statement.
The top Democrat on the committee, Gregory Mix, also criticized the trend to ban TikTok, and said he regretted "the Republican instinct to ban the things they fear from books to speech."
"Before we take the unprecedented step of banning an app used by more than 100 million Americans, harming our national security, and violating their freedom of expression and speech, Congress should first consult appropriately with the administration and other stakeholders," he said.
An American European embargo and a British refusal
Last Monday, the White House ordered federal agencies to ban “Tik Tok” on their phones and devices within 30 days, due to the risks of the application to US national security.
At the end of last December, the United States banned the use of TikTok in the devices of government employees, and employees of federal agencies were ordered to do the same.
On Tuesday, the European Parliament decided to ban the TikTok application on its employees' phones for security reasons.
The European Commission and Council of the European Union last week also banned TikTok on employees' phones.
On the other hand, British Minister of Science and Technology Michelle Donnellan announced that she would not follow the American and European decisions to prevent officials from using the Chinese “Tik Tok” application.
The British minister said that using the application is a personal choice, adding that there is no evidence to support the need to ban its use.