Can TikTok come under the US Government’s scrutiny again and face another possible ban in the region?
As you may recall, last July, US President Donald Trump demanded a ban on the app, partly due to concerns about the possible use of TikTok data for surveillance purposes, due to tacit commitment to the Chinese government, and in part, Trump said in retaliation against China for the distribution of COVID-19.
Attempts to ban TikTok were repeatedly stuck through legal challenges, before it is finally desolate by the new US government – though not without take note that at some point it wants to assess the app, and the potential for data collection.
Today, the US government announced an expansion of the Trump administration decision to forbid youS investments in Chinese companies, based on “the tviolence by the military-industrial complex of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) “.
According to the White House:
“President Biden [has] expanded the scope of this national emergency by establishing that the use of Chinese surveillance technology outside the VRC, as well as the development or use of Chinese surveillance technology to facilitate repression or serious human rights violations, poses unusual and extraordinary threats.“
This will lead to the US government moving to restrict US investments and transactions with 59 Chinese institutions, including Huawei, China Telecom Corporation, Greatwall, and more.
This could raise new concerns about the platform – the key point is among that of China cybersecurity legislation, is any Chinese enterprise that is technically obligated to provide all user information upon request to the CCP if such request is submitted. Of course, we have no insight into whether any such request will ever be directed to TikTok or ByteDance, but the company has repeatedly reassured users that their data is secure and that TikTok user information is stored outside of China and is not accessible to the CCP.
But the concern remains, and because TikTok is apparently moving to gather more user insights, and the U.S. government is investigating similar elements, it looks like the two could move to a different clash.
But then ‘biometric identifiers and biometric information’ are also collected by other social apps. YouTube apparently collect similar data, and Facebook has faced legal challenges in the past over its harvesting biometric data. While this sounds bad, especially given TikTok’s potential link to CCP, it may not be as important as it seems.
But that would probably be enough to make a few more Congressional compatriots look back, and if tensions between China and the US continue to rise, China is likely to respond in some way to these latest rounds of restrictions, TikTok was able to place under the spotlight.
This could spark new discussions about a possible ban or a possible sale, with Oracle and Microsoft likely to re-launch their bid.
It’s still too early to predict where such actions could lead, but it’s worth monitoring the situation and the potential consequences for the world’s fastest growing social app.