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U.S. Legislation Intensifies Scrutiny on TikTok Amid National Security Concerns

Imagine a scenario in which one of the most widely used social media sites, with more than 170 million users in the US alone, is about to shut down… President Joe Biden has signed an omnibus foreign aid package that includes a possibly prohibitive clause against TikTok, so this is not just a made-up situation. 

Keep reading to understand the details of this case below 👇


Legislative Push Against TikTok

President Joe Biden just approved an omnibus foreign aid deal that includes a possibly prohibitive clause against TikTok. The parent business of TikTok, ByteDance, is required by law to sell the platform within nine months. The Protecting Americans’ Data from Foreign Adversaries Act, which tries to prevent data brokers from disclosing private information to foreign enemies, is also included in this package.

Furthermore, a bill mandating ByteDance to sell TikTok within a year or risk a nationwide ban has been expedited by the U.S. House. 

ByteDance would need to locate a buyer who has been authorized by the US government if this measure is adopted. In similar news, it has been claimed that TikTok is thinking about firing General Counsel Erich Andersen.

Fast-Track Court Challenge

The U.S. Justice Department and TikTok have jointly asked an appeals court to expedite the consideration of the new statute, which requires ByteDance to sell its U.S. assets by January 19 or risk a ban, in response to the legislative pressure. If necessary, this swift legal action seeks to get a Supreme Court review prior to the deadline.

Since 170 million Americans use the app, a group of TikTok creators has already launched a lawsuit to prevent the rule, claiming it has a significant impact on American life. In a related lawsuit, TikTok and ByteDance claimed that the law infringed upon their First Amendment rights to free speech.

Both the Justice Department and TikTok emphasize the public’s strong interest in a speedy resolution given the platform’s large user base. They think the legal dispute might be resolved with a quicker timeline without the need for emergency injunctive relief.

For reasons of national security, the White House is in favor of terminating Chinese control of TikTok, but it is not in favor of a complete ban. Discussions have been requested by both sides for September, and the Justice Department may submit classified data to support its allegations of national security.

Reauthorization of Section 702 of FISA

President Biden reauthorized Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) on April 20, which was another significant development. The Senate approved it with a vote of 60-34. Experts such as Professor Matthew Waxman of Columbia University and Adam Klein of the University of Texas pointed out in a New York Times opinion piece that the reauthorization includes supervision changes that would greatly improve compliance.

Despite opposition from both parties in Congress, the program was given a two-year extension because of worries about civil liberties and possible abuse of American data. The significance of the technology in preventing security threats was emphasized by lawmakers, although several suggested changes to strengthen American privacy laws. Although these changes were not approved, the program’s safeguards against invasions of privacy and intelligence requirements remain in place.

In light of the changing legal landscape, TikTok is advocating for an accelerated court decision by December 6th to address the proposed ban. This legal move emphasizes the serious and nuanced position TikTok holds in the US market.

The increased emphasis on data privacy and national security is reflected in these legislative and legal actions. Businesses and consumers alike should pay close attention to these changes as they may have significant effects on data governance and global IT operations.

The reauthorization of FISA and the congressional pushback against TikTok show how seriously the U.S. government takes data privacy and national security. All of these moves highlight the growing concern about foreign tech companies and how they might affect security and privacy in the United States.