Sen Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) is working on making US companies storing user data or encryption keys in China illegal. The new law will also stop Chinese companies from collecting information from American users than is reasonable to run its services.
The senator said these measures will be part of a new National Security and Personal Data Protection Act.
When implemented fully companies like Apple and TikTok might be hugely affected. As for Chinese law, Apple started storing Chinese users’ iCloud accounts in a Chinese data center last year according to a publication on Reuters.
Although Apple claims to still be in charge of encryption keys, but Sen Josh Hawley is not relying on such claim as he sees it as national security threat. Just like other senators, Hawley is not free from fears that TikTok’s owner ByteDance could be pressured to cooperate with intelligence work by the Chinese Communist Party. Though TikTok has debunked those allegations.
According to a statement that was released by Hawley’s office recently, “China and countries that similarly threaten America’s national security are taking steps to vacuum up our sensitive data.” So this new act would prevent such threat. That said, big tech companies in the US that are legally obligated to store data in China may face a serious problem, they may even be required to leave China completely.
Sen Josh Hawley had initially tipped that user data should be made “portable” across social network platforms and restricting social network features deemed addictive. He advised the FTC to investigate how social networks curate content, and also suggested that there should be an investigation into Amazon’s ways of handling child privacy and introduced legislation to ban loot boxes in gaming.
This is not the first time Sen Josh Hawley is proposing a tech-babased bill, but being implemented as a law is usually a tour one.