July 19, 2024

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TikTok blasts Biden administration for political demagoguery

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TikTok disclosed a letter Thursday that accused the Biden administration of engaging in “political demagoguery” during high-stakes negotiations between the government and the company as it sought to relieve concerns about its presence in the U.S.

The letter — sent to David Newman, a top official in the Justice Department’s national security division, before President Biden signed the potential TikTok ban into law — was submitted in federal court along with a legal brief supporting the company’s lawsuit against the measure. TikTok’s Beijing-based parent company ByteDance is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit, which is expected to be one of the biggest legal battles in tech and internet history.

The internal documents provide details about negotiations between TikTok and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a secretive inter-agency panel that investigates corporate deals over national security concerns, between January 2021 and August 2022.

TikTok has said those talks ultimately resulted in a 90-page draft security agreement that would have required the company to implement more robust safeguards around U.S. user data. It would have also required TikTok to put in a “kill switch” that would have allowed CFIUS to suspend the platform if it was found to be non-compliant with the agreement.

However, attorneys for TikTok said the agency “ceased any substantive negotiations” with the company after it submitted the draft agreement in August 2022.

CFIUS did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Justice Department said it is looking forward to defending the recently enacted legislation, which it says addresses “critical national security concerns in a manner that is consistent with the First Amendment and other constitutional limitations.”

“Alongside others in our intelligence community and in Congress, the Justice Department has consistently warned about the threat of autocratic nations that…

Haleluya Hadero, The Associated Press

2024-06-21 04:39:46

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