New Delhi: Just over a week after the Indian government banned 59 Chinese apps, including the popular video platform TikTok, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has hinted that the US may also consider a similar ban.
In an interview to Fox News, Pompeo said he and President Trump are taking the reports seriously after the show host pointed out that India had already banned the apps.
“We are taking this very seriously and we are certainly looking at it. We have worked on this very issue for a long time…” said Pompeo.
Not divulging more details before any presidential announcement on this, he said, “…it is something we are looking at.” Pompeo added that people should download the app only “if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party”.
US lawmakers have previously expressed concerns about Chinese apps — pointedly raising national security concerns over TikTok’s handling of user data — as well as Chinese laws that require domestic companies to cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.
Pompeo hails India’s ban on Chinese apps
On 29 June, the Indian government banned 59 Chinese apps for being “prejudicial” to national security.
Pompeo hailed the move and said that it “can serve as appendages of Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state.” He also said that India’s “clean app approach will boost India’s sovereignty and boost integrity and national security”.
While TikTok is not available in China, after the ban in India, the company has taken further steps to distance itself from the country to appeal to a more global audience.
Chief Executive Officer of TikTok Kevin Mayer said while China has not asked for any user data, they will not provide it even if the occasion arises.
Recently, the app also pulled out of Hong Kong after a legal controversy “that grants the Hong Kong government sweeping powers to police the online and public spheres”.
Pompeo’s remarks come at a time when US-China relations are severely strained due to the latter’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, a long standing trade-war and China’s actions in Hong Kong.
China recently passed a security law in Hong Kong, which gives Beijing the power to shape life in the island nation.