Tensions between the United States and China have been strained as of late, and their relationship has only grown to be more contentious under the Trump administration. One area that has drawn a lot of media coverage is the fight over data and data security. This issue arose as it became clear that the Chinese government and private firms were collecting data on American users.
While it is unclear what specifically these Chinese players plan to do with the information, it has made many Americans, especially the Trump administration, weary of Chinese apps. In fact, these concerns grew to such a high degree that President Trump threatened a ban on the app in the event that it was not successfully sold to an American company.
Recently TikTok was saved from doom when Oracle made a deal to purchase the app. This occurred after negotiations with Microsoft fell through. However, in recent events, the Trump administration has announced that it will be remove both WeChat and TikTok from the app store effective 9/20/20.
TikTok expressed great dismay in response to the executive order. In a statement the company said “we disagree with the decision from the Commerce Department, and are disappointed that it stands to block new app downloads from Sunday and ban the use of the TikTok app in the US from November 12th. We will continue to challenge the unjust executive order, which was enacted without due process and threatens to deprive the American people and small businesses across the U.S. of a significant platform for both a voice and livelihoods.”
To rebuttal the argument made by TikTok, Republican legislator Senator Josh Hawley tweeted: “This is the right move—ratchet up the pressure on Beijing, protect Americans.” Hawley’s remarks reflect the sentiment expressed by the vast majority of Republicans. No longer are they willing to endure data breaches and data security issues with the Chinese.
The ACLU on the other hand staunchly opposes the executive order. The ACLU proclaimed, “the Commerce order violates the First Amendment rights of people in the United States by restricting their ability to communicate and conduct important transactions on the two social media platforms.”
The issue of the ban on these apps ultimately boils down to the debate between liberty and national security. Considering how contentious this topic gets, it goes without saying that there is not a compromising solution.