Sen. Josh Hawley urges feds to reject Oracle deal with TikTokSeptember 15, 2020
Sen. Josh Hawley called on the feds to shoot down TikTok’s proposed partnership with Oracle because it would keep the popular short-video app tethered to its Chinese owner.
The Missouri Republican laid out his concerns in a Monday letter urging the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US to reject TikTok parent ByteDance’s proposal to make California-based Oracle its “trusted technology provider.”
The “completely unacceptable” deal violates President Trump’s executive order directing Beijing-based ByteDance to fully sell TikTok and fails to address the government’s concerns about the Chinese government gaining access to American users’ data, Hawley said.
“China’s repressive intelligence laws, which allow the seizure of data from Chinese companies like ByteDance if the Chinese Communist Party comes knocking, still remain in force,” Hawley wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
“And that is why any corporate shell game that leaves TikTok in the hands of ByteDance will simply perpetuate the original problem, leaving US national interests and everyday users at serious risk.”
The foreign investment committee known as CFIUS should force ByteDance to come up with a “more acceptable solution,” such as a full sale of TikTok — including its signature algorithm — to an American company, according to Hawley.
TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Hawley’s letter, but the company has said it believes the deal it proposed “would resolve the administration’s security concerns.” Oracle and the Treasury Department also did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment Tuesday.
Oracle and TikTok did not disclose details of their deal when it was announced Monday. But the American business software giant will reportedly manage TikTok’s American user data and take a stake in its US operations without becoming the outright owner.
Trump has threatened to shut down TikTok if ByteDance didn’t sell its US operations, but the Chinese government threw a wrench into the sale talks by imposing new export restrictions that likely would have required ByteDance to get a license to hand the app’s key algorithm to an American company.
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