Two years ago, the Trump administration struck a deal with Oracle to store all US data from TikTok, over fears the Chinese app could help Beijing spy on Americans. Oracle set out to win the TikTok data storage contract, leveraging US-China antagonism and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s personal relationship with Trump to breathe new life into its waning data storage business. .
Now, thanks to a new TikTok data privacy scandal, Oracle has finally won TikTok’s case.
TikTok announced on June 17 that it had “changed the default storage location for US user data” and that “100% of US user traffic is routed to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.” The announcement coincided with a BuzzFeed investigation which found that TikTok employees in China routinely monitored and accessed the private data of US TikTok users between September 2021 and January 2022.
Storing the data of more than 100 million U.S. TikTok users will be a boon for Oracle, which was once one of the world’s largest data hosts but struggled to catch up after rivals Amazon and Microsoft made early breakthroughs in cloud computing and took control of more than half. the market between them.
Trump’s TikTok deal comes full circle
In August 2020, Trump made a (legally and practically dubious) threat to ban TikTok in the United States, fearing that the Chinese government would use data collected by TikTok to spy on American citizens. In September, the Trump administration struck a deal in which TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, agreed to sell a minority stake in the social media app to two “very American” companies, Oracle and Walmart, with Oracle taking over storage. TikTok’s American data bank.
After Trump lost the 2020 election in November, the TikTok deal entered a period of limbo and eventually fell apart when US President Joe Biden took office. Biden revoked an executive order by Trump banning TikTok in June 2021, but then launched his own investigation into the app’s data practices.
In March 2022, ByteDance and Oracle had renewed negotiations for Oracle to take over TikTok’s US data storage, this time to assuage the Biden administration’s privacy concerns. After BuzzFeed detailed how the company’s China-based employees controlled access to US TikTok user data in June, TikTok quickly announced that all US private data, including phone numbers, birthdays and users’ draft videos were stored on Oracle’s servers. The company also said it hired Oracle to “develop data management protocols that Oracle will audit and manage to give users even more peace of mind.”
BuzzFeed, however, reports that ByteDance employees in Beijing will still have access to public data about American users’ videos, comments and biographies, allowing them to draw conclusions about American interests and politics.