The administration of President Joe Biden has urged a US federal court to suspend proceedings to block TikTok to order a new analysis of the national security threat from the famous Chinese-owned video app.
The filing in a federal appeals court said that a review had started by the current administration and did not ask for a smartphone app ban for the moment as requested by former President Donald Trump.
The filing stated that the Commerce Department “plans to conduct an evaluation of the underlying record justifying those prohibitions” sought by Donald Trump’s previous administration, which claimed that because of its links to the Chinese government, TikTok posed a national security threat.
After the new review, the administration “will then be better positioned to determine whether the national security threat” from TikTok.
“The Department of Commerce remains committed to a robust defense of national security as well as ensuring the viability of our economy and preserving individual rights and data privacy,” the filing said.
The attempt by the Trump administration to block TikTok downloads and its existence on online networks has been blocked in the face of legal challenges.
The Biden administration has also put on hold a plan to force the sale of TikTok to American investors in a related development, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The Journal, citing unnamed sources, said that the plan to require the sale of TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance, to US tech giant Oracle with Walmart as a partner, had been indefinitely shelved by the Biden White House.
The Journal said the new administration is in the midst of a review of data security and ways to prevent the Chinese government from accessing the information TikTok collects on American users, but that there would be no imminent move to force the sale.
The White House did not address the report directly, but spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: “It’s not accurate to suggest that there is a new proactive step by the Biden White House.”
Psaki added that an interagency government commission is undertaking a’ comprehensive’ analysis of TikTok’s data protection, with no timeline set.
I will note broadly that we are thoroughly evaluating the risks… to US data, including TikTok, and will deal with them decisively and effectively,”I will note broadly speaking that we are comprehensively evaluating the risks… to US data including from TikTok and will address them in a decisive and effective fashion,”.
With an estimated 100 million US users, TikTok, the wildly popular app, has consistently defended itself against accusations of data transfers to the Chinese government, claiming it maintains consumer data on servers in the United States and Singapore.
The Trump administration’s preliminary deal will make Silicon Valley giant Oracle TikTok’s technology partner and a stakeholder in a separate company to be known as TikTok Global.