The Department of Justice (DOJ) is reportedly holding a series of closed-door briefings intended to persuade senators to force the sale of TikTok to a US company, rather than ban it outright.

This follows Congress voting overwhelmingly in favor of either a ban or forced sale, while passage through the Senate is less certain …

Personal data collection dispute

Of the three arguments to ban TikTok, it is the least-persuasive of these which seems to be garnering the greatest attention. Namely, the personal data collected by the app.

We’ve noted before that the app actually collects very limited personal data, and Bloomberg notes that app owner ByteDance has been making the same argument.

The company disputed the claim that TikTok having user data like name, age, phone number, email, IP address and general location amounts to the collection of tremendous amounts of sensitive information. The company said the information it has on users “is routinely collected by companies in order to provide access to online services.”

“Unlike some of its competitors, TikTok does not require users to disclose their real names, does not ask users about their employment or relationship status, and does not request that U.S. users disclose their precise geolocation information,” according to the company.

The company has also been encouraging TikTok users to share their stories about why they love the app.

DOJ briefing senators to force sale of TikTok

The same Bloomberg report says the DOJ is holding private briefings for senators who are as yet unpersuaded of the need for a ban. The approach being taken is to emphasise the option of allowing the continued use of the app in the US, but under the ownership of a US company.

Senior officials from the Justice Department and other agencies will hold closed-door briefings in the Senate this week to advance legislation that would allow TikTok to continue operating in the US while being severed from its Chinese owner, according to people familiar with the matter […]

The department’s push, led by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, is aimed at divestment of the popular video-sharing app from its Chinese parent ByteDance Ltd., as opposed to an outright ban in the US, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified speaking about confidential matters.

Monaco and other national security officials have been working behind the scenes with key lawmakers to pass legislation that would result in TikTok being divested and perhaps bought by US investors or an American entity, the person said.

One concern raised about the House vote is that it would only allow TikTok to avoid a US ban if the company is sold within six months, while some senators feel that this timing is unrealistic, and it would likely take longer to find a buyer and process the sale.

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