The United States should reject a proposed partnership between Oracle and TikTok that would allow for continued Chinese regime control over the app and consequently endanger American national interests, said Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.).
“ByteDance can still pursue a full sale of TikTok, its code, and its algorithm to a U.S. company, so that the app can be rebuilt from the ground up to remove any trace of CCP influence. Or perhaps, given constraints imposed by Chinese law, the only feasible way to maintain Americans’ security is to effectively ban the TikTok app in the United States altogether,” he wrote.
It remains unclear whether the new deal entails transferring the TikTok’s coveted recommendation algorithms to Oracle—which could be subject to a new Beijing export regulation that requires sales of such technologies to be approved by Chinese authorities.
Regardless, as “ByteDance has no intention whatsoever of relinquishing ultimate control of TikTok,” the proposed partnership “leaves fully intact” the national security threat of the Chinese regime having access to Americans’ data, the senator said.
Chinese intelligence law requires all Chinese companies like ByteDance to cooperate with Beijing’s intelligence efforts and hand over data in accordance with the regime’s will.
With such “repressive” laws still in force, “any corporate shell game that leaves TikTok in the hands of ByteDance will simply perpetuate the original problem,” Hawley said.
“In short, the proposal violates the President’s executive order,” he added.
Microsoft, whose offer ByteDance had turned down, said on Sunday that its solution “would have made significant changes to ensure the service met the highest standards for security, privacy, online safety, and combatting disinformation.”