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U.S. to Act Against ‘Array’ of China Software, Pomp...

Newsdeck

Newsdeck

U.S. to Act Against ‘Array’ of China Software, Pompeo Says

Signage is displayed at the TikTok Creator's Lab 2019 event hosted by Bytedance Ltd. in Tokyo. Photographer: Shiho Fukada/Bloomberg
By Bloomberg
02 Aug 2020 0

The Trump administration will announce measures shortly against “a broad array” of Chinese-owned software deemed to pose national-security risks, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said.

(Bloomberg) —

The comments suggest a possible widening of U.S. measures beyond TikTok, the popular music-video app owned by ByteDance Ltd., one of China’s biggest tech companies. President Donald Trump told reporters Friday that he plans to ban TikTok from the U.S., but his decision hasn’t been announced. Pompeo signaled he expects a Trump announcement “shortly.”

Chinese software companies doing business in the U.S. are feeding data directly to Chinese authorities “whether it’s TikTok or WeChat — there are countless more,” Pompeo said on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

Trump “will take action in the coming days with respect to a broad array of national-security risks that are presented by software connected to the Chinese Communist Party,” Pompeo said.

Trump’s TikTok move could upend a potential bid from Microsoft Corp., which was exploring an acquisition of the app from ByteDance, according to people familiar with the matter.

Read more: ByteDance Prefers TikTok Spinoff Over Sale to Microsoft, SCMP Says

Trump can either “force a sale” of TikTok or block the app by executive order, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on ABC’s “This Week,” adding that he wouldn’t discuss specifics on his talks with the president on the topic.

CFIUS Objections

Mnuchin, who heads the Committee on Foreign Investment on the United States, or CFIUS, said “the entire committee agrees that TikTok cannot stay in the current format because it risks sending back information on 100 million Americans.”

That view that “there has to be a change “ is shared by lawmakers including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, Mnuchin said.

“We’re closing in on a solution and I think you’ll see the president’s announcement shortly,” Pompeo said.

TikTok has become one of the world’s most popular apps. It’s been downloaded more than 2 billion times globally and more than 165 million times in the U.S. ByteDance is prepared to sell 100% of TikTok’s U.S. operations as a way to head off a ban by Trump, two people with knowledge of the situation said earlier.

TikTok has hired almost 1,000 people in the U.S. this year and will be employing another 10,000 into “great paying jobs” in the U.S., a company spokeswoman said in a statement. The business’s $1 billion creator fund also supports people in the country who are building livelihoods from the platform, she added.

“TikTok U.S. user data is stored in the U.S., with strict controls on employee access,” she said. “TikTok’s biggest investors come from the U.S. We are committed to protecting our users’ privacy and safety.”

Two Republican Senators, Marco Rubio of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, seemed to be on the side of a Microsoft acquisition over the weekend.

“If the company & data can be purchased & secured by a trusted U.S. company that would be a positive & acceptable outcome,” Rubio said on Twitter. Graham tweeted that he understands the “concerns” of TikTok fans and users and that Microsoft taking over would be a “win-win.”

Lindsey Graham

@LindseyGrahamSC

What’s the right answer?

Have an American company like Microsoft take over TikTok.

Win-win.

Keeps competition alive and data out of the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.

Sent via Twitter for iPhone.

View original tweet.

(Updates with Rubio, Graham comments in final two paragraphs.)

–With assistance from Billy House.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Tony Czuczka in Washington at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
James Ludden at [email protected]

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