Court documents detail TikTok's negotiations with US government before ban law

Court documents detail TikTok's negotiations with US government before ban law

Documents disclosed in court this week detailed high-stakes negotiations between TikTok and the US government prior to the signing of a law to force the social media platform's China-based parent company to divest from it.

TikTok accused the Biden administration of engaging in "political demagoguery" in a letter sent to a top official in the US justice department before the law was signed.

The lawsuit is expected to be one of the biggest legal battles in tech and internet history.

The documents provided details about negotiations between TikTok and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a secretive inter-agency panel that investigates corporate deals over national security concerns, between January 2021 and August 2022.

TikTok has said those talks ultimately resulted in a 90-page draft security agreement that would have required the company to implement more robust safeguards around US user data.

It would have also required TikTok to put in a “kill switch” that would have allowed the committee to suspend the platform if it was found to be non-compliant.

Lawyers for TikTok said the agency “ceased any substantive negotiations” with the company after it submitted the draft agreement in August 2022.

The committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while the US justice department said it is looking forward to defending the recently enacted legislation.

“Alongside others in our intelligence community and in Congress, the Justice Department has consistently warned about the threat of autocratic nations that can weaponise technology — such as the apps and software that run on our phones – to use against us,” the statement said.

“This threat is compounded when those autocratic nations require companies under their control to turn over sensitive data to the government in secret".