India won't ease ban on TikTok post Oracle deal in the US, say officials

NEW DELHI | BENGALURU: TikTok and Oracle’s business partnership in the US is unlikely to lead to an easing of the ban on the short-video platform in India, two senior government officials told ET.

The officials said the partnership, even if it extends to India, will not be adequate as it does not assure the Centre that the data of Indian users will be safe and won’t be sent abroad.

Picking Oracle as its “trusted tech partner” instead of an “outright sale” may not be “adequate” to assuage Indian government’s concerns about data transfer to Chinese servers, said one of the officials.

The person added that the app will continue to be owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company. “There is no way to verify or for them to prove that data transfer is not happening to their servers in China.”

A second official said that unless issues around security, data privacy and user permissions are addressed, the ban — announced in June end — will stay.

‘Larger Issues not Addressed’

“The reasons for banning the app are more than just ownership… The ownership is only a partial and a small part of the concern. The larger issue is around security and data privacy, and unless those concerns are addressed, the ban will not be revoked,” the second official said.

On Monday, global media reports said Oracle had emerged the winner for TikTok’s US operations, with the company likely to be named TikTok’s ‘trusted tech partner’. The deal is unlikely to be structured as an outright sale, the reports said.

The contours of the partnership will, however, require approval from the US government, which has issued an executive order to ban the app in the country if it is not sold to an American company within a stipulated time frame.

TikTok claims to have 700 million monthly active users globally, according to its latest lawsuit filed in the US. India is one of the largest markets for the popular app along with the US.

Meanwhile, Microsoft, which had evinced interest in buying Tiktok, released a statement on Sunday. “ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok’s US operations to Microsoft. We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users, while protecting national security interests,” the statement said.

The Chinese government had thrown a spanner in TikTok’s sale negotiations with Microsoft and others by issuing new export restrictions late last month on the kind of artificial intelligence technology TikTok uses. The move had raised questions on whether the Chinese government will allow the sale, and how TikTok could be valued without its proprietary algorithms.

India won't ease ban on TikTok post Oracle deal in the US, say officials India won't ease ban on TikTok post Oracle deal in the US, say officials Reviewed by TechCO on 9/15/2020 Rating: 5

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