TikTok working towards a U.S. security deal

The TikTok platform is negotiating to continue operating in the United States without significantly altering its ownership structure, according to four people with knowledge of the discussions. The Biden administration and TikTok have drafted a preliminary agreement to address national security concerns raised by the Chinese-owned video app, but obstacles remain regarding the terms.

These anonymous sources have been quoted as saying that the two parties have worked out the basic terms of a deal which would require TikTok to make changes to its data security and governance without forcing its owner, the Chinese internet giant ByteDance, to sell it to another operator. Though a few general resolutions have been reached, there are still several points of contention between the two sides.

The Justice Department is supposedly spearheading the negotiations with TikTok, Sources close to the negotiations have stated that its No. 2 official, Lisa Monaco, is worried that the conditions are not stringent enough against China and that the Treasury Department, which is crucial in authorising deals with dangers to national security, is also not convinced about the ability of the deal being structured at the moment to adequately address those risks. This may force modifications to the agreements and delay a decision for months.

Due to its ties to China, TikTok, one of the most widely used social media platforms worldwide, has been dogged by legal issues in the United States for more than two years. Legislators have been consistently vocal about their concerns regarding TikTok’s capacity to shield American users’ data from Chinese authorities. Threats of a ban put parent company ByteDance under intense pressure to sell the app to an American firm during President Donald J. Trump’s tenure.

As TikTok has come to be the face of the Cold War-like tension between China and the United States, any deal struck with the Biden administration now would be an object of serious scrutiny. The nations are competing for supremacy in technology and digital data. The discussions are taking place only weeks before November’s midterm elections, and scepticism toward China is a natural part of American politics.

Completing an agreement may also be challenging for the Biden administration, which is not only in a sensitive time politically but is also known to have stepped up the tone of criticism and executive orders against China. Except for its more polite rhetoric, this current administration has not changed the Trump White House’s approach to Beijing for the most part. This is also easily so because the mistrust of China in the US cuts across all political divides. However, Republicans have criticised the administration for being too lenient with China.

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