Today was supposed to be the day when the U.S. Commerce Department was going to shut down short-form video app TikTok in the U.S. The extremely popular app, owned by China’s ByteDance, is considered a national security threat in the states because of its Chinese heritage. The U.S. government believes that TikTok’s U.S. app collects personal and corporate data from American companies and consumers and sends it to Beijing.
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TikTok has a couple of its own cases pending. One case seeks an injunction against being shutdown; unlike the case before Judge Beetlestone which gave ByteDance and TikTok temporary relief, TikTok is looking for a more permanent solution from U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington. Judge Beetlestone stated that the government’s action “presents a threat to the ‘robust exchange of informational materials’ and most likely exceeds what the government is entitled to do under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. This is the Act that the president says gives him the authority to ban TikTok in the U.S.
In appeals court, TikTok recently said that ByteDance has submitted its fourth version of a proposal designed to create a new company that would be 20% owned by Walmart, 20% by Oracle and 60% by ByteDance that would meet the President’s demand for a divestiture. This new company would be responsible for handling TikTok’s U.S. consumer data and content. The idea is to have this personal information and content in the hands of an American company rather than a Chinese one. But with the president somewhat sidetracked at the moment. the Commerce Department’s decision to shelve the TikTok ban for the moment doesn’t seem to bother Trump at all.
Sources say that on the day he takes over the presidency, President-elect Biden plans on reversing many of the changes made by Trump via executive orders. Another change we could see would be the return of net neutrality. The Obama-era rule required that all data streams be treated the same. In other words, a carrier or ISP can not speed up or slow down certain data streams for financial rewards. Current FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, appointed by Trump, removed net neutrality from the FCC rule books even though the majority of American consumers wanted to keep it.