Senators demand answers from Biden on how to enforce Trump's TikTok order

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Senators demand answers from Biden on how to enforce Trump's TikTok order

A group of Republican Senators led by Tom Cotton is demanding answers from the Biden administration on how it is enforcing a Trump-era executive order that targeted ByteDance, the Chinese parent company behind TikTok.

In a Thursday letter sent to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the lawmakers asked why the Biden administration has been dragging its foot on the national security and privacy risks posed by TikTok. It came just days after a report by ByteDance said that American users had access to the data for months, even though U.S. employees did not have access themselves.

The Executive Order E.O. was issued by President Trump. The use of TikTok in the U.S. has been halted due to privacy concerns for federal employees and contractors, as per 13942 on August 6, 2020. ByteDance retaliated by suing in federal court and obtaining a preliminary injunction that halted a pending prohibition against downloading the TikTok app.

Trump issued an additional Presidential Order on August 14, 2020, directing ByteDance to divest its American assets and destroy any data it acquired through TikTok. The order was argued that ByteDance's acquisition of Musical.ly, a video-sharing social media platform, threatened to harm the national security of the United States. President Biden revoked Trump's first executive order and ordered security reviews of TikTok and similar apps developed by foreign adversaries. The following month, the Biden administration petitioned to dismiss the ongoing federal litigation against ByteDance, but allowed Trump's August 14 Presidential Order to remain in place.

The senators said that the Biden Administration hasn't done anything to enforce the August 14 order nearly two years since it was promulgated. The results of the security reviews have not been publicly released after a year. TikTok recently announced it has started routing American users data to U.S. based servers owned by Oracle to address privacy concerns. The senators argued that such an arrangement would do little to address the core security concerns that motivated Trump's August 14 order. The order was not simply concerned with data, but rather about a Chinese company's ownership of a social media platform in America, the senators wrote. If the Biden administration focuses solely on data storage and integrity to the exclusion of ByteDance's ownership, control and influence of TikTok, serious security risks will remain and the August 14 order will not be enforced. Their letter ended with a request for the Treasury DepartmentTreasury Department to answer a series of questions about Trump's August 14 Presidential Order, which is or is not being enforced.

The letter was signed by Republican senators. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Marco Rubio of Florida, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, and Todd Young and Mike Braun of Indiana are some of the things that Tom Cotton is interested in.