Photo illustration: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

Republican Sens. Josh Hawley and Rick Scott are introducing legislation to bar federal employees from using TikTok on government devices, citing national security concerns.

The big picture: Chinese tech companies like TikTok parent ByteDance are drawing rising scrutiny from policymakers who argue that Beijing can tap them to harvest vast amounts of data from Americans.

Details: The No TikTok on Government Devices Act would ban all federal employees from installing "TikTok or any successor application developed by ByteDance or any entity owned by ByteDance on any device issued by the United States or a government corporation."

  • The measure wouldn't apply in the context of cybersecurity research, intelligence gathering or any federal investigation or enforcement action.
  • “TikTok is owned by a Chinese company that includes Chinese Communist Party members on its board, and it is required by law to share user data with Beijing," Hawley said in a statement. "[I]t has no place on government devices."

Context: TikTok, a wildly popular video app, doesn't collect much personal information compared to other social media platforms, and there's little public evidence that it is monitoring other activity on its users' devices.

  • But it reserves the right under its terms of service to collect location and other data, and cybersecurity experts caution that user behavior on TikTok could be used to train artificial intelligence systems.

Go deeper: Why TikTok and Huawei are in lawmakers' sights

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Air Force watchdog to review military surveillance of Black Lives Matter protests

A Black Lives Matter protest in Boston on June 17. Photo: Erin Clark/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Air Force inspector general is investigating the use of a military reconnaissance plane used to surveil Black Lives Matter protesters in multiple cities, the New York Times first reported and Axios has confirmed.

Driving the news: The top intelligence official at the Department of Defense told Congress last week that he had not received orders from the Trump administration to surveil protesters gathering across the U.S., per the Times.

Jun 18, 2020 - Technology

Schiff: Trump's tweets complicate election investigations

Photo: Shawn Thew - Pool/Getty Images

Ahead of a House Intelligence Committee virtual hearing with Facebook, Google and Twitter on Thursday, committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) tells Axios that he worries the president's attacks on Twitter and other tech companies could complicate Congress' and the intelligence community's efforts to learn more about election interference.

Driving the news: Schiff says the president's criticism "certainly heightens the concerns of the social media companies and how they interact with the Congress and with the Administration which threaten to make it more difficult to get information from them. I hope it won't have that impact."

Updated 7 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

South Carolina restaurants and bars will have to close alcohol sales by 11 p.m., beginning Saturday, under an order issued Friday by Gov. Henry McMaster.

The big picture: The U.S. had another record single-day spike of 63,200 new coronavirus cases from Thursday. COVID-19 cases in South Carolina have increased, with 21,560 cases recorded in the last two weeks.