Daily Memo: TikTok and the Tech War

Washington is expected to ban the social media platform over national security concerns.

TikTok and the tech war. The White House is expected to ban the popular social media platform TikTok in the coming days on grounds that personal data gleaned by the app’s Chinese parent company, a private behemoth called ByteDance, poses a national security risk. Microsoft said its CEO is in talks with the White House and with TikTok itself to scoop up the company’s U.S. operations on the cheap. The U.S. is following the lead of India here, which banned TikTok following the clash between Chinese and Indian troops in disputed parts of the Himalayas. National security concerns about an app known mostly for viral clips of dancing zoomers may seem silly, but the imbroglio around TikTok speaks to the underlying reality of the U.S.-China “tech war”: Given the blurring lines between commercial and military or intelligence technologies, including apps that collect staggering amounts of personal data, it’s not hard to come up with reasons that just about any emerging Chinese technology could threaten U.S. interests. And the broader geopolitical competition will push the U.S. to err on the side of mitigating worst-case scenarios, however real or imagined. TikTok won’t be the last Chinese-owned app in the crosshairs. Last year, […]

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