TikTok reveals "kill switch" offer to the US government to avoid ban

TikTok offered the US a 'kill switch' in 2022 to avoid a ban but negotiations halted. Now, TikTok faces a legal battle over the future of its US assets.

: TikTok revealed it proposed a 'kill switch' to the US government in 2022 to address security concerns and prevent a ban. Despite this, discussions did not progress, and the US ceased negotiations. As a result, TikTok is now engaged in a legal fight against legislation mandating the sale of its US assets.

TikTok disclosed that it had offered a 'kill switch' to the US government in 2022 to mitigate concerns over data protection and national security. This proposal was part of a draft National Security Agreement that included other provisions to maintain user data security and limit ByteDance’s access to US data. However, despite TikTok’s efforts, substantial negotiations with the US government stopped after the proposal was made.

In a letter to the Department of Justice, TikTok’s lawyer claimed that the government ignored further meeting requests and did not respond to an invitation to inspect its Transparency Center in Maryland. This disclosure comes amidst a legal struggle by TikTok and ByteDance against a law requiring the divestment of TikTok’s US assets by January 2025 or face a nationwide ban. The companies argue that this law is a significant shift from America's tradition of promoting an open internet.

The legal battle is expected to intensify with oral arguments scheduled for September at the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. TikTok asserts that its data does not leave the US, overseen by American company Oracle through Project Texas. The controversy has also reached Europe, with the European Commission not ruling out a similar ban over security concerns.