The draft of a proposed agreement between Chinese-owned TikTok and Biden’s administration reveals the latter wanting exceptional jurisdiction over the site, which is just another indication of the government’s intention to censor, regulate, and spy on American online social media users.
Forbes got a 100-page draft of the planned deal, which says that the United States government would be able to look at TikTok’s servers without warning. This would give the government a way to spy on American internet users.
According to reports, the deal further provides the government the authority to stop any alteration in TikTok’s moderation of content rules. This shows how much the government cares about censoring social media users.
As the deal was being drafted, government agencies such as the DOJ or the DOD would be able to:
- Look at TikTok’s U.S. buildings, records, equipment, and computers with little or no notice.
- Stop changes to the app’s conditions of service, moderation rules, and data policies in the United States.
- Don’t let TikTok hire any leader who would be part of running the U.S. Data Security org.
- Order TikTok and ByteDance to pay for and take part in surveys, studies, and other reports about the security of TikTok’s U.S. functions. In some cases, ByteDance may also be forced to temporarily stop TikTok from working in the U.S.
“The draft deal says that TikTok’s operations in the U.S. would be closely watched by a number of independent bodies, such as a third-party auditor, a third-party monitor, a cybersecurity auditor, as well as a source code inspection. It could also force TikTok U.S. to keep ByteDance leaders out of some security-related decision-making and instead depend on a secretive executive security council. Members of this group would be in charge of protecting the national security of the United States as described by the Executive Branch. Only after that would they be in charge of making money for the company.”
People on both sides of the aisle are worried about how Chinese control of TikTok affects Americans. However, many people have seen past proposals for controlling the platform as nothing more than a power grab in the form of the Patriot Act, providing the federal government unheard of control over a social networking site and its users.
The government is already being sued and investigated for allegedly working together with Big Tech companies to harm the rights of Americans under the First Amendment. Its request to change how TikTok handles content moderation is another sign that it wants to control what people say on social media.