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.).
Oracle reached a deal over the weekend with TikToks parent company ByteDance, in which Oracle would serve as a “trusted technology provider” for the Chinese-owned video-sharing app. The proposal is currently awaiting a review from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an interagency body that screens foreign investment transactions for national security concerns.
In a Sept. 14 letter (pdf) to the committee chair, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Hawley urged the CFIUS to take a more critical look at the “Oracle-ByteDance collaboration” and reject anything short of a clean break with the apps Chinese ties.
“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 TikToks 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.
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