TikTok intensifies efforts to secure U.S. deal

TikTok intensifies efforts to secure U.S. deal
TikTok intensifies efforts to secure U.S. deal
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As it tries to persuade the U.S. government to permit it to continue being owned by Chinese technology company ByteDance, well-known short-video app TikTok is offering to run more of its operations at arm’s length and subject it to outside inspection, according to people familiar with the matter.

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For the past three years, TikTok has worked to reassure U.S. government departments and agencies that their users’ personal information cannot be accessed and that their content cannot be changed by the Chinese Communist Party or any other group acting under its control.

President Joe Biden overturned a ban on TikTok issued by his predecessor Donald Trump last year, but talks between his administration and the social media platform remained regarding a potential agreement that would address the security issues.

In an effort to put pressure on the White House to take a tough stance against China as part of a larger debate including trade, intellectual property, and human rights, U.S. politicians have seized on security worries over TikTok.

In order to placate the American authorities, TikTok has already announced a number of initiatives, including a deal with Oracle Corp. to store user data in the country and the creation of a United States Data Security (USDS) division to manage data protection and content control choices. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, it has invested $1.5 billion in hiring and organisational costs to develop that operation.

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The sources claim that some government officials, including those at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the U.S. Department of Defense, continue to be hostile to a security agreement. These officials contend that because TikTok would continue to rely on ByteDance, which also runs the Chinese short-video app Douyin, for its technology, its users would remain at risk.

TikTok has tried to add more levels of regulation to the American government in order to get over these obstacles. According to the sources, Oracle’s responsibility has been broadened to include ensuring that TikTok’s technological foundation is distinct from ByteDance’s.

According to the sources, TikTok has also suggested setting up a “proxy” board that would administer the USDS business independently of ByteDance. Until a security agreement with the U.S. is established, this division is led interim by Andrew Bonillo, a former U.S. Secret Service agent, and it reports to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew.

Source: Indian Express

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Akshat Ayush