US to ban use of TikTok and WeChat for national security

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1The United States will restrict the use of the Chinese TikTok and WeChat applications from Sunday, with a total ban on the latter, citing national security and data privacy concerns.

TikTok banned under president’s instruction

A total ban on the use this app would be implemented on November 12, but Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Friday morning on the Fox Business Network program that access to that app could be possible if certain safeguards are in effect by then.

“Under the president’s instruction, we have taken significant steps to combat the malicious collection of personal data of U.S. citizens, while promoting our national values, democratic norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations,” Ross said in a prepared statement.

The government order also raises questions about the recent agreement of California-based technology giant Oracle to take control of TikTok’s U.S. operations, a requirement the Trump administration set for the application to continue operating in the country.

The details of the agreement between Oracle and the Chinese app were vague at best. Oracle was one of several bidders, including Microsoft and Walmart, to purchase TikTok’s U.S. operations.

Oracle, in its confirmation that it was the winning bidder on Monday, did not refer to the agreement as a sale or acquisition and instead said it was chosen as TikTok’s “reliable technology provider”.

At the moment it is not clear which assets, if any, would actually acquire Oracle.

Some security experts have raised concerns that ByteDance Ltd. the Chinese company that owns this app, would maintain access to the information of 100 million users of the application in the United States, creating a potential national security hazard.

Like most social networks, TikTok collects user data and moderates their posts. Collect your location and messages, as well as track what they see, to decipher the best way to target ads for them.

Similar concerns have emerged around U.S.-based social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, but Chinese ownership adds an extra drawback, because the Chinese government could order companies to help it gather intelligence.

ByteDance Ltd. said it does not store U.S. user data in China and would not hand over personal data to governments, but experts point out that Chinese authorities can obtain any information they want from companies in the Asian country.

 

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