Mnuchin Warns TikTok To Meet All U.S. Security Requirements In Oracle Deal Or Be Banned

Topline

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that TikTok must meet all U.S. security requirements in any deal it makes with Oracle — which will include storing code in the U.S. — or face being shut down, reports Reuters, the latest development in an ongoing saga to keep the wildly popular video-sharing app running in the US after President Trump declared it a security risk in August.

Key Facts

Speaking at a CNBC investor conference on Wednesday, Mnuchin reportedly laid out strict security conditions for any deal with the Chinese company: “All of the code will have to be in the United States. Oracle will be responsible for rebuilding the code, sanitizing the code, making sure it’s safe in their cloud, and …it’ll satisfy all of our requirements.”

The hardline stance on security in a potential deal is unsurprising; the security of user data was a key motivator for the Trump administration’s move to ban the app.

In August, Trump signed an executive order threatening to ban TikTok if it was not sold to a U.S. company, describing it as a national security risk with user data is liable to be passed on to Chinese officials; TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, disputes this. 

The conditions follow President Trump’s recent preliminary approval of a deal that would see TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, spin out its U.S. operations into a new subsidiary, TikTok Global, and sell a 20% stake in it to Walmart and Oracle, with the latter shouldering data hosting responsibilities. 

While the details of ByteDance’s deal with Walmart and Oracle are still being worked out, both parties are on a tight deadline — Trump’s executive order called for a sale November 12.

What To Watch For

Watch the courts. TikTok enjoyed a last-minute reprieve this weekend when federal Judge Carl Nichols blocked an order to remove TikTok from U.S. app stores. While existing users would have been able to keep using the app, new ones would have been prevented from downloading it. However, Judge Nichols declined to block a second set of restrictions due to come into effect on November 12, which would prevent U.S. companies from providing services to TikTok.

Big Number

100 million. That’s the number of active monthly users in the U.S. TikTok says it has in the U.S., which was revealed for the first time in a lawsuit challenging the government’s ban.

Further Reading 

TikTok Parent ByteDance Seeks Chinese Approval For U.S. Deal With Oracle, Walmart (Forbes)

Trump’s bid to ban TikTok and WeChat: where are we now? (The Guardian)

Trump, Oracle Push Back Against ByteDance’s Claim of 80% Ownership Of TikTok Global (Forbes)

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