Source: Eric Quintanar
The video-sharing app TikTok reportedly plans to file a lawsuit against the Trump administration as early as Tuesday over the president’s executive order banning U.S. companies from engaging in commerce with ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company, starting next month.
NPR reports that the video-sharing app will challenge the Trump administration’s order because the company says it was not presented with an opportunity to respond, according to “a person who was directly involved in the forthcoming suit but was not authorized to speak for the company.”
The company, which has an office in Los Angeles, also believes the executive order violates their due process rights, as after the 45-day waiting period is over, they may not be able to retain legal representation without violating the order.
Earlier this week, President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning TikTok, which has been the subject of cyber security concerns, from operating in the United States unless the company can secure a buyer and address concerns about the app.
“TikTok automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users, including Internet and other network activity information such as location data and browsing and search histories,” read the president’s executive order.
“This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information — potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage,” the order continued.
TikTok has denied that it sends data to the Chinese government, and the anonymous source for NPR has also reportedly pushed back against the national security concerns that the Trump administration has with the video-sharing app.
“It’s based on pure speculation and conjecture,” the source told NPR. “The order has no findings of fact, just reiterates rhetoric about China that has been kicking around.”
Microsoft has acknowledged holding negotiations with TikTok over a potential acquisition, but even if the two companies do reach an agreement, it remains an open question whether the terms of the deal will be enough to convince skeptical lawmakers.
“It can’t just be data and servers housed in the United States,” Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) told Fox Business on Monday of a potential TikTok deal. “There can be no code, there could be no algorithms, there can be no ties whatsoever between a new U.S.-based TikTok and ByteDance [or] China.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Sunday — the same day Microsoft acknowledged it was looking to acquire TikTok — he has urged that the video-sharing app be closed down in the country. However, Schumer has since expressed support for an American company buying the app so “everyone can keep using it and your data is safe.”
“This is about privacy. With TikTok in China, it’s subject to Chinese Communist Party laws that may require handing over data to their government,” said Schumer. “A safe way must be found for TikTok to continue.”