India's decision to ban TikTok and nearly 300 other Chinese apps in 2020 has set an "incredibly important precedent" and is a "guide star" for other countries, according to Brendan Carr, Commissioner of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
In an interview with the Economic Times, Carr said that TikTok operates as a "sophisticated surveillance tool" that presents a "serious national security threat" as all sensitive and non-public data goes to Beijing and could potentially be used for "blackmail, espionage, foreign influence campaigns and surveillance."
The FCC is an independent US government agency responsible for communications law, regulation, and technological innovation.
Carr's comments come amid a growing crackdown on TikTok by the US government, with several states banning the app on government-owned devices and a bipartisan bill seeking an outright ban being introduced in Congress.
While there have been discussions of implementing "mitigating measures," Carr stated that he does not see "anything other than a blanket ban" working and that the US needs to adopt a "more holistic approach like India's" to also "weed out other nefarious apps."
TikTok had over 200 million users in India at the time of the ban and considered India as its biggest overseas market.
Calls to ban the app have also emerged in countries such as Australia, and Taiwan recently moved to ban it from public devices.
TikTok has about 100 million users in the US, with two thirds being teenagers. While the US has previously attempted to ban the app, national security concerns have reached a tipping point in recent months, leading to renewed efforts to regulate or ban TikTok.
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