Tim Scott’s bill would require app stores to list country of origin and would put the “Made in China” label on TikTok

EXCLUSIVE: Senator Tim Scott is introducing legislation that would require app stores to list the country where apps are developed and owned before users download them, amid concerns some of America’s most popular apps were developed in China.

Scott, RS.C., top Republican on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Cities Affairs, introduces the Know Your App Act. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., are original co-sponsors of the bill.

The bill aims to protect national security and give parents the information they need to protect their children and help them make “informed decisions.”

“Americans should be able to make informed decisions about the online services they use to protect their privacy and their security,” Scott told Fox News Digital. “Requiring app stores to display an app’s country of origin is a sensible solution that can help them do that.”


Senator Tim Scott in a suit

Sen. Tim Scott, RS.C., wants to give buyers the opportunity to learn where apps were developed before they buy. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Scott, who last week announced his 2024 presidential candidacy, said parents “should not fear that their family’s online privacy and security could be compromised if they unknowingly use a foreign adversary’s app.”

The bill would require the Treasury Department and the Commerce Department to create a list of opposing governments that may have improper control over application content moderation, algorithm design, or the transfer of user data.

The Senate’s bipartisan restrictions bill would block tech products like Tiktok made in hostile countries

According to the bill, app stores would have to provide users with the ability to filter out applications from those opposing countries and warn users of the risk of downloading any of the foreign apps on the list.

If an app developer does not provide the App Store with sufficient information about their country affiliation, the App Store must issue several warnings within a certain period of time. Should the developer continue to refuse to comply with the request, the App Store would be obligated to remove the app from its store.

TikTok logo

The logo of the ByteDance app TikTok (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The introduction of the bill comes amid findings that four of the top five most popular apps in the United States were developed in China as of March this year. Those apps were Temu, CapCut, TikTok, and Shein.

Scott said this is “of particular concern” because China’s national security laws allow the Chinese Communist Party to force application developers to control an application’s content or user data.


China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law requires companies registered or operating in China to share information and data with Chinese intelligence agencies. US officials and lawmakers have warned that the Chinese Communist Party could force the company to release American users’ data or expose them to propaganda.

Supporters of the bill say people need more information so they can opt out of supporting these apps.

“Our opponents will exploit every tool available, including popular apps that collect vast amounts of data on Americans, to gain an advantage over the United States,” Wicker told Fox News Digital. “It is crucial for users to take steps to limit their exposure and be aware of the risks associated with using foreign-controlled apps.”

Wicker added that the legislation would “bring much-needed transparency to app stores and allow Americans to protect their families from exploitation.”

App Store icon

App Store icon seen on phone screen is Krakow, Poland, July 18, 2021. (Photo illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“Seeing ‘Made in China’ on almost every product these days is frustrating for Oklahoma residents who are doing their best not to support the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government with their hard-earned cash,” Lankford told Fox News Digital, adding that TikTok is “dangerous expansion of the CCP.”

“I want the ‘Made in China’ label and labels for all other countries that apps like TikTok come from to be clearly labeled when and where they’re downloaded,” Lankford said. “Americans should still have the freedom to buy items wherever they want, but the least Big Tech can do is label where Americans’ money goes when they download it on the App Store.”

TikTok, whose parent company ByteDance is based in Beijing, faces an ongoing security review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an inter-agency group that assesses threats to U.S. national security from foreign investments or transactions.

CFIUS has been investigating TikTok since 2019. In 2020, it unanimously recommended that ByteDance divest TikTok’s US operations and threatened to ban TikTok until it does so.

Biden and Xi

President Biden (right) and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands before their meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit November 14, 2022 in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

TikTok created Project Texas, an initiative dedicated to addressing US national security concerns. The initiative will create a standalone version of the US TikTok platform, isolated on servers in Oracle’s US cloud environment. It was developed using CFIUS and cost the company approximately $1.5 billion to implement.

President Biden signed a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill last year that included a measure to ban TikTok from federal government devices.


Additionally, the use of TikTok on state-owned electronic devices has been banned in more than a dozen states by both Republicans and Democrats.

A bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill in March that would restrict technology developed in the United States — including software, hardware, and social media platforms like TikTok hostile nations like China and Russia not available to US users due to national security risks.

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