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TikTok may migrate American user data to Oracle to end battle with Washington

tiktok-user-data-oracle-thefutureparty
Oracle // Illustration by Kate Walker

TikTok may migrate American user data to Oracle to end battle with Washington

 

Future. TikTok is closing a deal with Oracle to store all of its American user data with the company — possibly fulfilling the U.S. government’s edict for TikTok to spin-off from Chinese parent company ByteDance. Once the deal is complete, the data is transferred, and the government satisfied, it’s possible that TikTok could seek an IPO — bound to be one of the biggest tech public offerings in history.

“Trusted technology partner”
TikTok may finally be coming under compliance with U.S. data watchdogs.

  • Refresher: The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) mandated ByteDance to divest from TikTok over concerns that Beijing was able to access data about American users… but President Biden hasn’t enforced it.
  • After first being approached to take a minority stake in 2020, TikTok is finalizing a deal with tech company Oracle to store all American users’ information.
  • Per the deal, an independent data management team of engineers and cybersecurity experts would be created to act as gatekeepers to the information.
  • ByteDance ultimately wouldn’t have any access to U.S. user data.

TikTok is also discussing other cybersecurity measures with other tech companies. But still, there isn’t clarity as to whether any of these deals will satisfy CFIUS’s mandate.

TikTok currently stores all of its U.S. user data in Virginia, with a backup in Singapore.

Digging data foxholes
The U.S. government has become increasingly vocal of its concerns about foreign app data management — especially when American servicemembers use the platforms. In 2020, CFIUS also forced Beijing Kunlun Tech Co. Ltd to sell dating app Grindr for the same reasons as TikTok.

Beyond the mandates coming from CFIUS, the U.S. Commerce Department is also exploring the idea of requiring even more oversight of (or even outright banning) certain foreign apps. It’s all part and parcel of the U.S.’s bigger overarching tech cold war with Beijing.

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