ACLU Strongly Opposes House Bill to Ban TikTok and Threaten First Amendment Rights

(Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

By Paloma Sifuentes

WASHINGTON, DC- The ACLU sent a letter to the House Foreign Affairs Committee this week, urging members to reject HR 1153, a measure introduced by Michael McCaul, the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, that would ban Tik Tok in the U.S.

Jenna Leventoff, a senior policy counsel at ACLU said, “Congress must not censor entire platforms and strip Americans of their constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression. …we have a right to use TikTok and other platforms to exchange our thoughts, ideas, and opinions with people around the country and around the world.”

According to HR 1153, it could ban business and applications “by requiring the secretary of the treasury to forbid U.S. citizens from engaging with entities that ‘may’ transfer sensitive personal data to a foreign entity that is ‘subject to the influence of China.'”

This bill would also make the President impose sanctions on foreign entities operating software that may be facilitating a long list of activities by the Chinese Government.

The ACLU said the Berman Project passed in 1988 protects the people in the U.S. to receive information regardless of what country it came from, making this law exempt “sensitive personal data” from this amendment.

The ACLU also noted the time when former President Trump tried to ban TikTok, claiming that it “could cut off the flow of information, art, and communication that social media provides, interfering with communities and connections users in the United States…This interference with freedom of expression and association violates the First Amendment.”

About The Author

Paloma Sifuentes is a Senior at California State University, Long Beach majoring in Criminal Justice. She plans on attending law school after she graduates with her bachelors degree in the spring of 2023. She is very passionate about Criminal Law and intends on working as an associates attorney in a law firm after law school.

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