President Trump has issued an executive order that banned U.S companies from engaging in any business activities with TikTok Chinese owner company, ByteDance, giving it 45 days to sell TikTok, a short video app, to Microsoft Corporation, a U.S tech company.
The order issued on Thursday August 6, 2020, stated that TikTok, an app that has been downloaded 175 million times in the U.S. poses security risks which constitute national emergency.
It was also said that given a large body of information the app handles, Chinese government officials could be allowed to have access to information on Americans.
TikTok has however maintained that U.S. TikTok users’ data are stored in the U.S and Singapore and that Chinese government does not have influence over those data.
Given until September 15 to finalize talks with Microsoft, companies, after 45 days from now could face charge of violation of the ban as the Commerce Department would be charged to identify unspecified transactions should they have dealings with the Chinese company.
Socked by the order, TikTok, in a statement said the order was given without considering a legal process. It said that such order could undermine global business trust in the U.S.
Speaking about the order, TikTok said, “For nearly a year, we have sought to engage with the U.S. government in good faith to provide a constructive solution to the concerns that have been expressed.”
“What we encountered instead was that the Administration paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes, and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses,” the statement adds.
Adding to the U.S fears, some security experts have said that tech companies like ByteDance could be forced to provide user’s date to Chinese government as China’s law allows its government that sort of power.
Contrarily, several other experts believed that the company is honest and standard in its handling of users’ data and there was no evidence to support that it shares users’ data with Chinese government.
A professor of technology ethics at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, Kirsten Martin holds this believe as she said the app is not a national emergency.
“While TikTok is being singled out in this executive order, their data collection and sharing practices are fairly standard in the industry,” Kirsten said.
“I would imagine every teenager will still access TikTok through the VPN they use to access other content. The coronavirus is a national emergency. TikTok is not a national emergency,” she added.
Thursday’s order was one of few others issued on Chinese tech companies like Huawei, known for producing telecommunications equipment such as 5G wireless infrastructure.
The order came amidst rising tensions between the U.S and China over their growing technology companies.