In what seems to be a common occurrence, Chinese video-sharing app TikTok is once again in the headlines.

After months of belief about civic aegis risks and users’ data being harvested by the Chinese Communist Party, US Admiral Donald Trump has appear plans to ban TikTok in the United States any day now.

In response, a deal is being adjourned amid TikTok’s parent aggregation ByteDance and US software giant Microsoft. If successful, Microsoft will take over the app’s operations in the US and potentially also in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

A US ban would not be unprecedented. India barred TikTok last month, alongside dozens of other Chinese-owned apps and websites.

The Microsoft deal

According to reports, ByteDance has agreed to sell some of its TikTok operations to Microsoft. The deal, which is absurd to advance before mid-September, would allay US regulators and could be seen as a way advanced for TikTok in Australia.

Microsoft has adumbrated any takeover would accommodate a complete aegis review and an offer of:

… continuing chat with the United States government, including with the president.

Moving buying to a US aggregation could help abode apropos surrounding the perceived access of the Chinese government over TikTok. But there will need to be strong blank to ensure absolute user data is transferred absolutely to Microsoft’s control.

While Microsoft has apprenticed to ensure TikTok data are deleted “from servers alfresco the country after it is transferred” – it would be difficult to prove copies had not been made before ascendancy was handed over.

What’s more, a Microsoft-owned TikTok may not appeal to everyone. Some may think Microsoft is too carefully tied to the US government or may accede it a cartel holder in the claimed accretion market.

Also, it would be naive to think adopted governments will not be able to covertly access US-stored user data, if they are so inclined.

Who will benefit?

Should the deal go ahead, it may open an befalling for the Australian and New Zealand governments to align with a US-supported initiative.

Australia is still chief how to proceed, with the Senate Select Board on Adopted Interference through Social Media due to hear from TikTok assembly on August 21. The board has been tasked to look at the access of social media on elections and the use of such platforms to administer misinformation.

TikTok won’t be alone though – Facebook and Twitter are both due to attend. It is, however, absurd the Microsoft accretion will have much access on the affairs as the deal is still in the early days of discussion.

Microsoft’s accretion may acquaint fresh apropos about the US government’s access over TikTok. Although, this is conceivably more politically acceptable than abeyant Chinese government access over the app – given the Chinese Communist Party’s unsavoury record of aloofness abuses.

Perhaps the only winner from the deal would be ByteDance itself. A artefact that is more awful by adopted governments will only become harder to sell with time. It would make sense for ByteDance to cash out its asset sooner rather than later.

The deal would also likely earn it a cogent payout, given TikTok’s millions of users.

Are the risks real?

Despite advancing allegations, there is no of a threat to either civic aegis or claimed data from using TikTok. Many of the apropos hinge on data ascendancy – specifically, where data are stored and who can use and access them.

TikTok has responded to allegations by advertence its user data are not stored in China and are not accountable to Chinese government access or access.

That said, while TikTok user data may well be stored alfresco China, it is cryptic whether the Chinese government has already anchored access, or will seek to do so later through legal channels.

There are, however, other abeyant issues that may be active the US’s concerns.

For instance, in 2018 an abrupt aftereffect of administration fettle tracker data through the Strava website aback appear the locations of secret US aggressive bases.

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Thus, casework such as TikTok which are meant to be almost benign (if used ethically) can, under assertive circumstances, present abrupt threats to civic security. This may explain why Australia’s defence forces have banned the app.

Another Trump power move?

Threats from the US adjoin TikTok are not new.

The country’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo adumbrated TikTok was being advised by US authorities in early July. And suggestions of a civic aegis review go as far back as November last year.

However, in commendations to Trump’s most recent threat, one accidental factor may be the claimed animosity of the admiral himself.

There are theories much of the new hype over TikTok could be a acknowledgment from Trump to an blighted political rally in Tulsa.

A number of TikTok users aloof tickets to the Trump rally and didn’t show up, as a beef adjoin the president. The rally saw only a few thousand supporters attend, out of hundreds of bags of allocated tickets. The Conversation

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