Victor Wynne

TikTok makes its First Amendment case


Lauren Feiner, writing for The Verge:

The broad strokes of TikTok’s arguments have already been laid out in the complaints. But the new filings provide a more extensive look into how TikTok engaged the US government over several years with detailed plans of how it thought it could mitigate national security concerns while continuing its operations.

In an appendix, TikTok submitted hundreds of pages of communications with the US government, including presentations the company gave to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) when it was evaluating national security risks of its ownership setup. One deck explains the basics of how its algorithm figures out what to recommend to users to watch next, as well as a detailed plan to mitigate risk of US user data being improperly accessed. It goes as far as to include a floor plan of a “Dedicated Transparency Center,” through its collaboration with Oracle, where a specific group of employees in TikTok’s US data operations could access the source code in a secure computing environment. According to the slide deck, no ByteDance employees would be allowed in the space.

The incredible lengths TikTok has gone to in order to dissuade the fears of lawmakers only to be shut out without discussion only proves how little this has to do with national security in the first place.