National Security

TikTok Owners Challenge Trump’s “National Security” Orders in Court

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The Trump regime recently threatened to ban Chinese-owned social media platform TiKTok from operating inside the United States if the platform isn't sold to another party with bidders including the likes of Microsoft and Oracle.

The regime asserts that TikTok is a threat to national security just like so many other things they've sanctioned or imposed tariffs on from Huawei to giant, foam pool noodles.

Now, in what I consider a promising development, TikTok's parent company says they'll challenge Trump's assertions in court.

"To ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and users are treated fairly, we have no choice but to challenge the executive order through the judicial system," TikTok said in a statement.

"Even though we strongly disagree with the administration's concerns, for nearly a year we have sought to engage in good faith to provide a constructive solution," it said.

"What we encountered instead was a lack of due process as the administration paid no attention to facts and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses."

It's possible this will never reach a court room but I sincerely hope it does because the Trump White House has routinely cited "national security" to impose a wide range of protectionist policies without ever publicly detailing the threat.

It's possible that TikTok and other Chinese-owned entities do pose some kind of threat and I'm not qualified to say they absolutely don't but, if they do, let's see the evidence. Let's proceed to discovery in a court room. Let's see the internal communications of Trump regime officials and political appointees as they've made these decisions. Did they actually produce an evidence-based assessment that says these entities are a threat, or did they just make shit up?

I can't take it on purely good faith when TikTok's owner say they're harmless, but I also can't take it on good faith when the White House says the platform is a threat. I don't trust the people Trump has appointed and I obviously don't trust Trump himself who, for we all know, is directing these actions for corrupt reasons.

If Trump wasn't doing something for corrupt reasons, it would be a first.

  • muselet

    I can kinda see potential national security risks from TikTok. As I understand it, the app harvests a colossal amount of data from its users, which is always a worry. And TikTok is the product of a Chinese company. So it might be wise not to install the app on a government-issued phone or on any phone if one has a very high security clearance.

    However, data from North American users get stored, unless I’ve misread something (always possible), on servers in Singapore, not China, and the company swears blind that information doesn’t get transferred to Chinese servers.

    All of which is reasonably easy, if time-consuming, to verify.

    The business model for TikTok could be shifted from scraping data to, I don’t know, maybe a cheap subscription-based model. The Trump administration could stop treating everything any Chinese company does as a threat to national security!, as well. A resolution to this requires some cleverness and a little flexibility.

    Oh, who am I kidding? It’s an election year and Trump is likely to declare mahjong a threat to American national security by the end of September.

    –alopecia