I can't make any sense of that, it seems wrong at so many levels...
He's likely to issue some kind of executive order forcing bytedance to divest tiktok to continue operations. We may see some DoJ or FCC enforcement action that's effectively a "ban" (for users) while only being legally a temporary disruption of service pending compliance (for lawmakers, judges, enforcement agencies, etc to be okay with it). As we have learned over the last 4 years, the president has near absolute control over all federal actions.
I think the safe bet is a bunch of saber rattling that ends with some US entity buying tiktok.
However if the CIA has some evidence that the Chinese are gathering up information and feeding it straight to their cybertroll farms then he absolutely can shut it all down and arrest some people because then they are breaking the law and that falls under Federal police power.
Maybe this period in history is a hint to stop electing legislators that are happier letting someone else do all the hard work of deciding what the government should do.
It depends upon what you mean by "can't."
If you mean legal authority to block a specific app, no.
If you mean use his authority to influence & effectively make it happen, he can.
In other words, it is very much a threat with teeth. It would just be a roundabout path for implementation.
This is the #1 mistake people have made over and over with Trump. “He can’t...”, “He won’t...”, “He wouldn’t...”, “He’ll never...”.
He doesn’t play by any rules. You have to assume anything and everything is on the table. If he really wants to ban TikTok he’ll either get it done or scorch the earth trying.
Do you really think once someone says, “Mr. Trump there’s no mechanism for you to legally ban TikTok” he’ll be like, “Oh yeah my bad, I better get back to work on helping America through this pandemic.”
He knows he can say whatever he wants and strongarm whoever he wants. That is his literal playbook!
History suggests otherwise - more often than not he neither gets it done nor scorches the earth trying:
■ Trump wanted to change the date of the election, or suspend it entirely.
■ Trump wanted to send the military in to quell domestic riots.
■ Trump wanted to force states to reopen on his timetable.
■ Trump wanted to force American companies to manufacture domestically.
■ Trump wanted to repeal DACA.
■ Trump wanted to repeal Obamacare.
■ Trump wanted to ban Muslim immigration.
■ Trump wanted to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it.
The list of things Trump has tried to make happen, only to be sent whimpering back into the corner like a whipped dog, far outstrips his actual accomplishments.
What Trump does have is the power of government, which will make it awfully easy for Apple and Google to do it for him.
Any notably the power the executive branch holds, which the US classically prided themselves on being strictly limited in scope - as directly opposed to the monarchies the founding fathers resent, has exploded in power since 9/11 under Bush, then later even more so under Obama.
People had been critiquing the power grabs at the time for this exact reasons, knowing that they won't just be used to fight 'terrorism', which was always the pretext.
The fact almost every controversial thing Trump has done outside of congress has been using national security powers is not surprising. That authority was handed to them long ago and was always open to abuse.
The very broad national security laws in the US are the root source of the centralization of power. Simply changing who the president won't stop this train either. A lot of other country's presidents/prime ministers gained tons of power under the guise of counter-terrorism - including Canada and the UK.
Think about the Hong Kong national security act. Think about the patriot act and all it’s powers.
Nordstream 2 is a great example. Sanctioning a country that was literally the wall between you and the East is such an extremely stupid move. Just confirms Merkels sentence: "Europe can not rely on the US any longer".
German here and I have to, say: You lost me there, buddy. Even though I despise Putin and all what he stands for, I would now vote for polititians, who take a hard stance here, get the project done and take countermeasures or even sanctions against the US. Mind your own business! You have several catastrophes at home going on, maybe do something about that? We will buy our gas whereever we want to. Thanks for asking, we are doing fine here. So if you don't have a better deal for us kindly leave us alone.
Basically: grow dependence, extract concessions. The same way a crack dealer on a street corner does.
As for your last comment, the one insisting sanctions against the US: Merkel might have her foot on the throat of the rest of Europe, but we’re not going to see the day when Germany finally builds the empire of their dreams.
The US is no position to police other countries - especially not European ones, who are not even part of one - about illegitimate wars.
Regarding the empire I don't know what you are talking about. If the US sanctions Germany, Germany is economically perfectly capable of creating countermeasures. I say we should do so, because I cannot stand this arrogance. If the US starts trade wars with everyone, it hurts itself the most.
It seems kind of absurd to just ban one of the most popular apps in the world over night like this, especially with a US company about to buy it. On the other hand, I agree that China has had an unfair advantage in terms of banning US apps. But an overnight ban? This could have been played better.
The interesting question is: What's the end-game here? Europe seems to be heading in the same direction. We obviously want global social networks, and no country is happy with a winner-take-all where they're not the winner. So my (optimistic) guess is that we'll end up with federated (or otherwise distributed/decentralised) networks.
Given that even the Biden campaign has prohibited their workers from installing the TikTok app, there isn't likely to be much of a partisan fight over this issue.
I mean here in France when the government or the assembly trie to pass a law that is potentially unconstitutional there is an emergency review process by the "constitutional council" that can veto all or parts of the law that infringe.
This process just happened recently because our president tried to pass a "hate law" on social media that was deemed unconstitutional because it had too many unpredictable side effects on free speech principles.
For instance, France has used similar tactics when rumors of Pepsi buying Danone came to light.
We do: the judicial branch.
For example the Republican stalling of appointment until they where in power.
I know that the US does have the legal framework to deem the app a security threat based on its foreign ownership. Grindr, the gay hookup app, essentially had a forced sale from its Chinese owners .
However, if TikTok is sold to MS, and all user data is held in the US, I don't see any rationale that gives the government the power to ban the app, and MS certainly has the resources to challenge any attempted ban in the courts.
Wonder if WeChat is next. That would be fairly effective in prevent overseas Chinese from communicating with the mainland and a lot of mom and pop businesses that operate through Wechat like the students who buy products for people back in China and advertise and transfer money using WeChat.
We'll be back to buying calling cards and dialing telephones, but I guess this is the era of decoupling one way or the other.
Maybe people will have to invent some kind of transformer software, like you plug a western chat app on one side and it passes messages through a third party relay to a chinese messaging app.
Yes, now it's the US doing desperate acts of authoritarianism out of weakness.
TikTok poses exactly the same risk as any other app on the App/Play stores. They go through exactly the same static code review and signing process - conducted by two American companies. Any security risk can be addressed at that point in the pipeline.
Assuming the concern is about “data security” (vs OS level security), I see literally zero difference between a state actor having access to my data, and a third party advertiser. If it’s insecure, it’s insecure - it doesn’t matter who the potential attacker is.
This is a horrible, horrible decision that has nothing to do with security, and everything to do with a horrible president desperately clawing for anything he can to get re-elected.
No, it does not. See the research here . TikTok is a data collection engine disguised as a social media tool.
TikTok isn’t doing anything that Facebook and Twitter are doing, or may do in future.
If there’s a technical security risk that we should be worried about, then I am equally worried about every single other non-Chinese company exploiting it.
If this were nation-agnostic, generic data protection laws, no one would bat an eyelid. Couching in terms of hand-wavy national security is just so implausible and blatantly self serving.
Edit: As they have done. (So don't complain about unfair market access, as they clearly have good reasons. Right?)
That's what XMPP and matrix is. Self host your own Chinese instance to communicate with people there.
It's the next generation that will truly suffer, because they will belong to neither country and be looked at as potential fifth columns by both.
An American-Chinese Pacific War is a projection of American insecurity.
In the long run, without its 19th and 20th century grievances, the Chinese do not care about America. Full stop.
One day the Chinese GDP per capita (currently 8,000 USD) will reach the Taiwanese GDP per capita (about 25,000 USD), the Chinese GDP will triple and nothing America does will ever be interesting to the Chinese again. Except for a Pacific War, which brings no benefit to the Chinese, outside of a few small satrapies.
If we Americans recognize the Chinese tendency is towards isolationism, a tendency with historic precedents, there will be no armed conflicts down the line.
Any pacific war will be a coalition of India, Japan, US vs PRC war most likely. They really really should stop murdering Indian soldiers, testing Japanese air defense daily, ram everyone’s ship whenever they feel like etc. But they can not stop themselves, because regime is based on nationalistic aggression and “payback” (wtf they are paying India for I do not know)
Somewhat OT, but nothing has changed there. Phone plans minutes also become useless after a while.
TikTok is getting mainstream in US.
That is the difference
No banning TikTok isn’t ideological in this case: it’s one of dozens of Chinese apps. No other app is under fire. Yes I am ideological about Trump: I am against corruption and he is bar none the most corrupt president the US has ever had and hopefully will ever have.
Edit: just noticed your username. Dude, not cool.
In your second paragraph, you're missing that no other Chinese app has 100 million American users. So yeah, no other app is under fire, but no other app matters nearly as much.
As to my username, for some reason I'm not surprised that it's too politically incorrect for you.
As to your username, it’s not a PC issue. It’s just juvenile to the point where combined with your overall ignorance means there is no reason to take anything you say seriously. I hope some day you grow up.
So as a matter of principle, at least, I'm fine with it. I can't say I feel great about the wisdom of banning Tiktok in particular, but I won't let that confuse me into disagreeing with the underlying principle.
Haven't the most egregious erosions of civil liberties (Patriot Act for example) been implemented using the same argument? Not commenting on the validity of your position specifically, but your reasoning for it seems like it could be applied to just about anything regardless of how well it fits into the idea of a free and open democracy
Yes. We should be careful about it. That’s why I’m against secret courts. But this action us happening in the open, and ByteDance will have a chance to challenge it in court. (Something no American company could do in China.)
Just because something can be abused doesn’t mean it is always abusive.
Oh, definitely. I think those excesses which have been justified under the pretense of national security have been quite terrible, and I think that they are bad for reasons particular to those cases and arguments.
I don't take it to mean we should not have a concept of national security, or that we are so helpless that we can't meaningfully engage in case by case analysis of what to do in specific situations. It could be applied to anything if one isn't willing to distinguish between different cases based on their merits.
The app will be banned from the stores, advanced users could still install the app by getting the APK.
There's always the web. Good luck banning a website.
Most of the users have their default DNS set up: the ISP ones, and the french ISP dns' must comply to the law.
If you want to access SciHub for exemple, you need to change your DNS config to something else.
It's possible for this to completely backfire though. Suppose Microsoft pays tens of billions to ByteDance to acquire TikTok's US operations and then the app tanks in popularity or fails to reach profitability. This seems especially possible given how new TikTok is and the faddish rise and fall of many other video-based platforms (Vine, HQTrivia, Pariscope, etc.)
Twitter, FB, Alphabet excercise absolute control over censoring people they do not like(who are most likely wrong but that is not the point). Saw what happened with those docs video that Trump retweeted?
Open internet is long gone.
In a way this gives Chinese apps an immediate advantage (as some are indirectly calling out in this comment section). If you want to reach out to someone in China, you have to use a Chinese company's app. Since social media is mostly a winner take all (or at least has a major snowball affect), this helps the Chinese social media company's grow even bigger. Now you already have one social media app for contacting people in China installed, why not use that app for contacting others?
The West has always said that the Chinese bans to Western social media and tech companies were authoritarian and antidemocratic. How is this less so?
If we started seeing local governments having openly KKK or neo-Nazi majorities, the freedom of speech balance would substantially alter.
First amendment rights in the US are typically circumscribed only via a requirement to show actual, existential harm.
Death by a thousand cuts:
It's really off the mark to criticize the US for not having done enough against Nazis! Forget banning, we invaded and killed those fuckers.
Ideas versus actions and objects.
Bans per se aren't antidemocratic, we already have plenty of banned stuff. The only thing that can be antidemocratic is their purpose.
Really? So why are there Apple stores in China?
It seems like a rationalization to always see ourselves as the "good guys" no matter what. Every empire ever did.
Playing devil's advocate, I can see the Chinese rationalizing their bans as defending their sovereignty against Western dominance since we have a long history of bullying China and other nations that don't toe the line.
My point being, there's rationalizations you can make from their side too, which doesn't make their behavior correct.
Just because you can find some kind of a rationale for banning TikTok doesn't mean it's not hypocritical, especially while we often like to claim to hold higher moral values.
It's a known fact that Apple cooperates, apparently enough to be satisfactory for the CCP.
Short personal anecdote if you don't believe they vigilantly ban anything they don't like: My mom is Chinese and Buddhist. Her tiny Buddhist organization was recently told they would have to cease operations. All they were doing was meditating and praying together in livestreams. They also had online lessons with Buddhist monks and stuff like that. It's all harmless stuff, and their page had like 5K likes.
You would think something tiny like that might fly under the radar in a country with 1.3B people.
> It seems like a rationalization to always see ourselves as the "good guys" no matter what. Every empire ever did.
I'm not saying we're always the good guys no matter what. There's enough to criticise in our society. But no matter how much room for improvement we have, you cannot seriously contend that it's even a question whether democracies like ours are superior compared to totalitarian regimes like that of China. That question was answered over and over throughout recent history, and shouldn't ever have been brought to the table in the first place.
> I can see the Chinese rationalizing their bans as defending their sovereignty against Western dominance
That's not a rationalization, that's literally just what they're doing. And we're also doing the same by banning TikTok. But that's not the point, defending your sovereignty isn't inherently bad. The point is that it's only bad if bad regimes do it.
Take the Iraq war. The goal was to further assert ourselves in the Middle East, settle old scores, signal to our official enemies we mean business and enrich a bunch of military contravtors.
But the rationalization that I think made it possible for a lot of these people to sleep at night was things like defending the country, empowering women, bringing in democracy etc.
These are different things.
Also, as an aside, I may be wrong on this, but I think people sometimes underestimate the foothold of the CCP in mainland China and assume a coup would happen a week after YouTube was let in.
I feel this is incredibly naive; I mean if you look at how in our democratic societies narratives are regularly constructed to strengthen the status quo, often by pretending that the 2 parties actually have major principled disagreements, while nothing fundamentally changes almost no matter who gets elected, to the point where there are studies showing that the majority of policies people in the U.S. are in favor of don't get enacted.
Hong Kong is a bit different, because people there don't necessarily see themselves as having that much in common with mainland Chinese, but I don't think CCP would actually collapse if YouTube and Twitter were to be let in.
I happen to think the bans have more to do with wanting to empower local companies, (which yes are more easily controllable too), so that there's a strong internal economy that would ultimately be able to withstand sanctions etc.
> China’s communist regime
China's regime is many things but cannot really be described as communist much anymore, this is erasing a whole lot of history post Mao.
> China’s communist regime killed tens of millions of its own people within living memory.
Absolutely. That has not stopped us from treating regimes like Saudi Arabia as friends. The U.S. foreign policy establishment is hardly concerned about human rights.
Of course these are horrible, but I don't believe for a second that the TikTok ban has anything to do with human rights.
Fascist more than communist: it's military-heavy, nationalist, authoritarian and corporatist but with notionally private enterprise rather than simply overt government industries, all of which are typical of fascism (a few overlap with features of Leninst-style Communism, but neither nationalism nor, particularly, private-but-corporatist industry fit that model.)
It's not particularly aggressively expansionist, so it's not quite classic Fascism.
None of this is to say that I think the executive action is a good idea, but there is a middle ground between “a bad idea” and “literally the same as the CCP”.
The classic arguments for eg free trade suggest that even if the other countries decide to sink stones in their harbours, you still benefit from unilateral free trade.
(And that's also why free trade agreements are a bit silly from an economic point of view.)
Also, countries aren't people and can't have friends. Countries have allies and opponents. This colors every interaction.
I’ve never heard of it described that way. I’ve heard it called “anticompetitive” or “protectionist”.
I mean, the US bans Kinder Surprise eggs, but I wouldn’t call that “authoritarian”.
It was never a reason of moral. There are all sorts of gates like that in many us industries which favor us compagnies
In the literal sense for a TikTok ban to be democratic it only has to be voted on. We can call it 'democratic' if a democratically elected politician can legally prohibit the app.
China is openly show everyone that they'll censor and force state-backed monopolies in every area they have control over. There is nothing wrong regarding morals if means help to stop totalitarian system from spreading.
The US will read all your messages; but you can say what you like in them. The ban isn't for authoritarian reasons; it is a fairly pure economic/geopolitical play. You can say whatever crazy stuff you like as far as the government is concerned.
The present-day equivalent to the train that carried Lenin from Zürich to Petrograd would be a little tweak in a social feed visibility algorithm in some corporate codebase.
Policy A: "Any social media platform that refuses to censor opinions the government doesn't like is banned"
Policy B: "Foreign social media platforms are only allowed to operate in our country if our own social media platforms are allowed to operate on the same terms in theirs"
Can you see why Policy A is antidemocratic but Policy B isn't?
One reason why is that Policy B is viewpoint-neutral – the ban has nothing directly to do with what viewpoints the social media platform allows or disallows, it is simply demanding regulatory reciprocity ("We won't ban yours if you don't ban ours"). Whereas, in Policy A, the ban is part of the government trying to control which opinions are allowed to be expressed, which is anti-democratic.
(I haven't heard a clear explanation from the Trump administration of what their reasons for banning TikTok are. It is possible those reasons include Policy B, it is possible those reasons are completely unrelated.)
I won't nationalize your assets in my country if you don't nationalize my assets in your country.
I will ban your books if you ban mine.
"I will x if you will also x" makes you reactionary and gives agency to someone else to act on your behalf.
> and gives agency to someone else to act on your behalf
Relinquishing control is a very effective negotiation tactic. If you can credibly lose agency in a given situation - precommit yourself to a course of action - this means the other party has all the control and all the responsibility. If, given your pre-committed response, one choice is bad for your opponent, they're essentially forced by you to take another one.
Thomas Schelling wrote a whole book ("The Strategy of Conflict") about such scenarios.
A toy example (I think it's even from the book): imagine we're both in cars, driving towards each other and playing chicken. Whoever veers off to avoid collision first loses. If you want to win for sure, all you have to do is to rip out your steering wheel and throw it out of the window - if I see that, my choices are suddenly reduced to "lose the game, or we both die".
A real example is automated retaliatory strike systems that both sides of the Cold War worked on - strenghtening deterrence by ensuring a retaliatory strike will happen even if humans in charge change their minds.
This is true to an extent, but I find it unpersuasive. Because it’s basically my main negotiating and parenting technique. I don’t bluff well or frequently. I prefer to lay out the options ahead of time (because I’ve already thought them through) so I can let the other party make an informed decision.
“I will buy this widget for $X. Anything more than that and I will use your competitor / build it in-house.”
“If you clean your room, we’ll get ice cream. Otherwise, no video games today.”
“If you drop a nuclear bomb we will drop our nuclear bombs.”
The catch is that you have to mean it. Which is why I don’t see any real value in bluffing in long-term relationships. We’ve all seen those parents who tell their kids “If you don’t stop doing X right now then Y” and everyone knows (especially the kid) that there will be no follow through.
But predetermining your response doesn’t give away your agency. It’s simply stating in advance how you will respond to others agency in an effort to let them make an informed decision.
Suppose hypothetically, that the EU banned imports of Australian wine, why would it be “reactionary” for Australia to respond in kind by banning imports of EU wine?
EU would ban Aussie wine only if the benefits overweights straight reciprocation.
So Australia stating it will ban EU wines as a reaction just let’s the EU validate it’s worth it. If it’s not, no ban is set and nobody gets hurt. If it is, both bans are set but the EU comes out better if their calculations are right.
I just think that the losing side, when adopting similar moves, is not playing dirty per se. It's just leveling the field. You can only play foul if both players share, at least superficially, a similar moral framework.
The Chinese internet censorship isn't only censorship, it is also protectionism under disguise.
There is no reason to offer market access to the Chinese companies when China refuses to reciprocitate
Let's just stop beating war drums.
One reason Chinese products are cheaper is that they largely ignore environmental concerns. So by allowing the trade all we do is put our own, well-regulated factories out of business, whilst increasing the net pollution in the world, and instead of quality products that last we get junk destined for landfill, thus perpetuating the cycle. So there are very, very good reasons to look at the big picture here.
And that's before you even get into the slave labour...
If you open your market too early and don't protect your own elements, they will get crushed and you will be at the mercy of other powers.
Look at the UK, look at Germany, look at the EU... Having to please two superpowers and doing so bending backwards.
Of course things have changed a lot since the East Indian Trading company, kings and what not. So maybe protectionism works better in a global market interconnected. Maybe the Chinese model is simply the future for us, but probably not.
Personally I hope for a more GDPR styles approach to social media in general. There is no doubt China is spying through TikTok, and that’s bad, but I don’t really want Facebook or Google to sell my information either.
I notice your use of the past tense there; it did work well for the West but the situation in China is very different - they have been able to leapfrog to a Western level of technology without having a free and open society. So the rules are different now. The real test is now, starting at the same level, who can sustain it and who can pull away.
I'm surprised more people haven't mentioned GDPR. Yes, it was a huge amount of hassle and a lot of work (inspiring many memes). However, it did make people realise how much of their data was being used.
GDPR had a lot of potential but it has been lost in it's current form. Cookie warnings seem like something a politician would do, not something someone with any real understanding of data security. Very little has changed especially for the big players. Hell Google Chrome was recently caught collecting data when in incognito mode. A Google spokesman stated "Incognito mode in Chrome gives you the choice to browse the internet without your activity being saved to your browser or device" - that doesn't make it ok to collect the information and send it to themselves. It's pretty deceptive and this is recently, long after GDPR was introduced.
PS: The comparison to the East India Company (EIC) is a good one. The CCP is very much like the EIC (ironically it was the EIC supplying the opium for the opium wars). They have their own military, have a huge amount of power politically, openingly admits to using underhand tactics and breaking laws to enforce monopolies, as they are virtually untouchable.
It’s weird to point out this double standard but then apparently take the side of both countries banning foreign media companies.
If the Congress (the actual body meant to crate laws) decides to create a reasoned, comprehensive law to level the playing field with Chinese companies, then they should do it.
What shouldn't happen is this kind of impulsive decision making that arguably abuses the emergency powers of the presidency to block an app that allows people to film themselves and post those recordings.
If you claim that this app is a national security threat then any app is.
How so? Not every app is 1. Owned and controlled by an adversarial state, 2. In the hands of every American youth, and 3. Providing opaquely generated/sorted content.
So explain how every app is an equivalent security threat.
TikTok is just as much "owned and controlled" by an adversarial state as any app by US corporations is "owned and controlled" by the US government due to national security letters and the CLOUD Act.
Banning an app because you are worried about external cultural influence on your youth ends any such claim.
Why does something need to be proposed at all, is the US threatened by zoomers doing funny dances on a smartphone app?
1. Equipping the CCP with a sensor placed in the pockets of millions of American citizens. This is already a problem when American companies are doing it for ad targeting purposes. But to do the same and funnel the data to an increasingly militaristic near-peer adversary? It in fact makes it qualitatively, not just quantitatively, different.
2. Tiktok opaquely selects which content it shows users. Again, American social media companies do this to a lesser degree (non-chronological feeds), but they don’t tweak their algorithms at the direction of the government to opaquely modify the information environment a citizen exists in. Note that there is currently very public tension between the US establishment and these companies because yes, authoritarians love this capability and no, they don’t yet have it in the US. Tiktok has no ability to refuse CCP’s requests to, e.g. erase any references to their concentration camps or to amplify claims that Bill Gates is trying to inject microchips via the COVID vaccine.
Whether a US executive should be able to single handedly make such a decree, I really don’t know. It doesn’t seem right to me but I ought to think about it more. What is 100% obvious to anyone looking at TikTok and the CCP with clear eyes is that it is a huge threat.
That aside, the US is a free country. Everyone can spread propaganda. I was under the impression that American citizens of voting age are able to discern information themselves and distinguish between hoax and reality.
Since when is it the task of the US government to police media companies?
Do you also suppose that it would be a good idea for you to hit your head repeatedly against a wall, if I start doing so?
This is a bad analogy and proves nothing. There's no connection between two people banging their head against the wall.
However, there is a connection between one actor performing a bad action and then facing punitive action from another actor because of it. It makes them less likely to perform similar actions in the future, and could cause them to reverse the previous bad actions that are still in effect.
Whereas if you're banging your head against the wall, me doing the same does nothing to stop you. Hence why it's a meaningless analogy.
Nobody should be using TikTok voluntarily, in my opinion. There should be a PR-effort led by governments, parties or NGOs to tell people why they shouldn't use TikTok.
An information campaign like you suggest might be justified. Though given how politicized everything seems to be, I suspect it might backfire.
Btw, would you like to make it illegal for people to send their personal information directly via email to the CCP?
The debates around Facebook, Twitter and so on regarding political speech and misinformation is bad enough, and those companies at least don't have malicious intents and are criticized mostly for their inaction. With a company operating under Chinese law this is a whole other can of worms.
That's a great injustice to the Chinese people. But Americans poking their own eyes out in 'retaliation' makes neither Americans nor Chinese customers better off.
who said anything about making customers better off? it's done to hurt the other party's profit and expansion and influence.
Of course, if you get arbitrarily cynical, you are right. But then we'd need to have a very different discussion.
The defence budget of the US is in large part the gov's R&D budget and national economic programme. 'National Security' is now its headline for its international economic programme.
In the real world this is little more than just another politically motivated maneuver that will do little to undo the damage caused to the world and Western interests vis a vis China of the US withdrawing from the TPP.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. These TikTok users already won round 1 (Tulsa) and this would mean war.
A fitting note for every idea Taleb has ever had.
The theory was developed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb to explain:
1. The disproportionate role of high-profile, hard-to-predict, and rare events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations in history, science, finance, and technology.
2. The non-computability of the probability of the consequential rare events using scientific methods (owing to the very nature of small probabilities).
3. The psychological biases that blind people, both individually and collectively, to uncertainty and to a rare event's massive role in historical affairs.
From your article:
Taleb, in a March 30 interview on Bloomberg Television, said a pandemic like the coronavirus outbreak was predictable and investors who weren’t hedged paid the price with steep losses. What’s impossible to predict is the timing of such an event, he said, which is why insurance must be in place at all times.
So essentially his "big idea" is the concept of insurance? That doesn't quite qualify as intellectually significant to me.
Now the West also needs to ban <X> (in this case, a social media platform) to function and is no better than its rival. If anything, this would prove the CCP was always right when it applied such measures in the past.
This sets a scary -albeit interesting- precedent.
It does no such thing. China was given market access under the precise promise of the Chinese would likewise open their own markets. They did not do that. Then they explicitly started banning American companies, conducting unfair trade practices, and more. All we're seeing now is a long await readjustment to reciprocity. Your logic is bizarre. If two parties were in a Mexican stand off, and both agreed to put down their guns only for one to not actually put them down, then the other party that put their gun down can pick it back up just fine. That other party IS better than it's rival because it acted in good faith, and it was it's rival who was deceitful.
Not good idea.
It is not about fairness it is just about power.
It always struck me how people in one nation can apply a single issue to defend his nation when there are many other issues that invalidate the argument about the fairness of his own nation actions.
Adding an extra wrong on top, doesn't make a right.
If it stops Chinese corporations getting an advantage great. But it seems ublikely to happen while US companies have the advantage, and once they start to lose it, it will probably be too late.
Even splitting doesn't help. You can try to split the main social network off from some other profit-generating activities, but they would probably start those up again, after some time. You can't split the social network, because then users of the smaller parts just join the bigger part again.
Currently we don't know how to do it, except encourage new companies to rise.
Lack of reciprocity is one of the weakest, I think.
If you want to talk to someone in China, you have to use WeChat and have your entire conversation mined by the CCP. There’s no encryption and no alternative. The writing has been on the wall for years that the US will be left with no choice but to blacklist Chinese apps in the same manner.
Thus it may make more sense to ban TikTok than WeChat. And always assume the CCP is listening to unencrypted communication. In fact, they are probably mining our comments in Hacker News.
Seems to me that it's not banned at all, they just release a region-specific version for a specific market.
Heck, region-encoded DVDs weren't a form of ban, don't you agree?
Tiktok is the same exact service with region-specific restrictions, primarily motivated to comply with local jurisdictions. That's it.
I’m guessing that the international tiktok hosts content that wouldn’t be allowed on China, and the CCP isn’t interested in having the workload of censoring the rest of the world’s content.
Bing has been in China forever.
Western platforms could always compete in China if they assent to domestic censorship laws like every Chinese platform. That's "fair" considering how onerous and costly compliance is. Western platforms simply have not invested in the necessary mass human moderation until the last few years, after confronted with the same violence that forced Chinese platforms to lock down post 2009 minority riots. Hence why Facebook and Google was open to engineering Chinese compliant versions after improving their moderation infrastructure following failed revolutions, genocides, mass shootings.
The reality is TikTok operates in US under US laws like how Bing operates in China under Chinese laws. There's nothing inherently unfair. The issue is asymmetric vulnerability due to fundamentally different governance systems. US could never leverage even western platforms operating legally in China to undermine China due to Chinese content controls - see China deleting diplomatic tweets on Chinese social media. But China can potentially leverage TikTok operating legally to undermine US. But instead of transferring TikTok to US ownership, which is merely anticompetitive, Trump decides to ban via executive action which is... upright undemocratic. That said, it's totally justifiable on security basis. But just remember China-hawks in current admin have no problem becoming the thing they wish to fight. That's what Americans should fear.
They get the best of all worlds.
The Chinese are relegated to using whatever is available in their country whereas western citizens can use whatever is best in the world.
So yes, it’s extremely unfair on the Chinese people.
(These ideas are from Henry Kissinger's on China, Destined for War by Graham T. Allison and The China Dream by Liu Mingfu)
There has been multiple rounds of racial genocide in China's history, some by internal turmoil, and more by external invasion. Yet the Chinese culture survived.
It might sounds incredible, but so many people in such a huge land, have its own life strength.
If you think a political dictator can purge a nation's history tie, in 10 years, without actually killing all the people, then you are certainly underestimate Chinese people's strength and ernacity...
You work in tech, right? Ever run this take by your Chinese coworkers? Ask them about their families' connection to Chinese tradition?
That doesn't mean they're perfect or blessed but they've definitely been there the whole time.
And people have been living in Europe for thousands of years too. The "4000 year history" is a CCP thing they sell to the populace to make their dictatorship seem more legitimate. It's pretty stupid, most cultures have been around for at least 1000 years.
Differences between civilizations can feel offensive.
There's some evidence remaining that China was once a collection of societies. Notably language. The CCP insists that all of China speaks Mandarin, but thats only the case since the cultural revolution.
Chinese writing is indeed nearly universal. But spoken language once had many dialects, and still does to an extent. These dialects are sometimes mutually unintelligible. If it wasn't for CCP party line they would be considered different languages, as part of Chinese language family. Much like many of the southern Asian languages are different languages that cluster together.
Yes. As I mentioned these ideas are not mine but advanced by 3 books which explain the Chinese perspective. These books are bipartisan and multinational and explain this principal.
* Henry Kissinger's on China (Republican)
* Destined for War by Graham T. Allison (Democrat - Joe Biden recommended book)
* The China Dream by Liu Mingfu (Chinese PLA General)
What "real chaos" has "China" (which is, by the way, nowhere homogenous) seen that we have not seen?
EDIT: I suppose the Great Leap Forward was an example of "real chaos", to an extent we haven't seen in the West. But where was China's 4,000 years of history to stop the deaths of millions of their own?
Yellow Turban Rebellion
Northern and Southern dynasties:
An Lushan Rebellion:
Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period
Ming Qing Transition:
Second Sino-Japanese War:
Ever heard of Pax Romana?
This is ill-informed and easily proven wrong.
I'm no China apologist, but the Chinese have suffered the worst human disasters in history.
Let's go down the list of top 10 anthropogenic disasters by geometric mean death toll and count the causalities in China :
1. 2nd World War estimated 70 million dead, 17.5 million dead in China 
2. Three Kingdom War 38 million dead, all Chinese
3. Mongol Conquests 35 million dead and transition from Song to Yuan. Chinese population registers drop from 140 million to 70 million. 
4. European Colonization of the Americas 35 million dead, no Chinese dead
5. Taiping Rebellion 35 million dead, all Chinese
6 Red Eyebrows Rebellion 30 million dead, all Chinese
7. Muslim conquest of India 41 million dead, no Chinese
8. Ming Conquest of Yuan 30 million dead, all Chinese
9. Qing conquest of Ming 25 million dead, all Chinese
10. Second Sino-Japanese War 22 million dead, mostly Chinese
and as a bonus:
11. An Lushan Rebellion 21 million dead, all Chinese
Let's count the bodies.
Total dead in 11 conflicts: about 380 million dead
Chinese dead: about 200-220 million dead.
The Chinese are in a whole other ball park in terms of historical suffering. Nothing in American history compares to even a civil war most Americans have never heard of, like the An Lushan rebellion. For perspective, "only" 700,000 American soldiers died in the US Civil War and there were no accounts of civilian casualties of similar magnitude.
Genuinely asking and want to remain open-minded about this.
However, I think why this feels unsettling even if it just mirrors what China's done is because up to now there was a sense that the US has a stronger economy, society, and culture than China, and these restrictions China put on US companies reflected their weakness and insecurity. But now the US is doing what China's done for decades. It shatters that aura of American superiority, implies that China's been right all along on matters of national security, and foreshadows a future where previously sacred assumptions of American democracy become obsoleted by new technology. I'm reminded of hand weavers smashing machine looms during the dawn of the industrial revolution.
To give some push back:
Currently the US is in an election year and both the left and right are concerned about foreign interference.
Being said Tik Tok is a Chinese based company and following priority Chinese law. Couldn't they propogate direct election interference under the precived guise of being a US private corporation bc of US public's consumption and get away with it?
A counter point could be made for an actual US corporation doing the same thing, but a nation state doing it would be a different issue entirely.
Now someone else banned those channels so that you lose the edge. Not only that, the other guy also creates something similarly popular and wait -- it is not under your control!
What would you do?
It certainly hopes to provoke a cycle of retaliatory escalation, because it's an election year stunt looking to distract from, well, a whole lot of other things with a manufactured international crisis to create a rally-around-the-flag effect.
It will probably fail as a political strategy somewhat less spectacularly than “let’s avoid having a national strategy to control the COVID-19 pandemic and behind-the-scenes obstruct state efforts because the early impacts are in Democratic-governed states and we can leverage the impacts for political gains by blaming the governors.”
This is only about hurting China and TikTok and NOT improving safety of US users.
If the US cared it would just change legislation to require rights be protected for social media companies - but that would impact Facebook so that's not going to happen.
I (an individual) would be happy to see TikTok banned, along with Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/etc, because I see them as vain wastes of time with a sinister twist. But I've also met teenagers, and even been one! So I can guess how they might respond to a government-imposed ban on a new and interesting vice.
And I (a citizen) am deeply suspicious of being told that I must not know something. It smells like corruption and tyranny. The belief that knowledge should be free is tattooed on my soul (and my skin).
Tit-for-tat only works in the absence of moral imperatives.
Tariffs are set for classes/types of goods/materials/etc... and Kinder Eggs were banned because they didn't comply to a regulation (small dangerous foreign objects contained in the product - maybe other similar products had to be banned as well but those ones didn't reach the headlines).
In this case the decision applies to a very specific company/product and that decision is not based on a rule/regulation/etc..., I think => on one hand it doesn't have any impact on other similar companies/products, on the other hand it scares me that a single person is able to enforce on-the-fly these kind of decisions.
Obviously, an ad volarem tax (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_valorem_tax) that is a tax that is proportional to the market value of a transaction like VAT wouldn't do anything.
But there are other kinds of taxes.
Eg fuel taxes in many countries are usually per litre, not per dollar of petrol. See eg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_tax#Tax_rates
Carbon taxes proposals are also usually imagined to apply per kg of carbon emitted. Exactly because there's no prior price of carbon emissions.
but a PWA wouldn't stop this. Most of the mobile APIs aren't available on PWA and if the site is blocked via route it won't help
Being ignorant of the special area of law that is “Presidential emergency powers regarding trade with foreign nations” isn't necessarily being really weak on US law generally, though that narrow area of law ends up contravening a lot of what you might correctly understand elsewhere when it is triggered.
It's not clear exactly what the content of the order will be, without which we can't really begin to assess whether he has the power to issue it, but there are certainly, at a minimum, things he could due to obstruct their ability to fully interact with US markets under Presidential emergency powers. Given that Trump's I formal descriptions preceding executive actions have not been a particularly good guide to the details of the actions, I don't know that any deeper analysis wouldn't largely wasted.
I'm a huge proponent of regulating big tech companies, but all regulation needs to done under the framework of public and universal rules established in advance, not randomly banning individual apps without proof of wrongdoing or a way to mount a defense.
The state absolutely can order parties not to participate in any way with trade prohibited under it's Constitutional power to regulate international trade.
Which includes Presidential directives issued under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
If TikTok is doing something bad, fine. Make a rule against the bad thing, then ban TikTok on the basis of breaking that rule. You can't just bypass the whole "make a rule" and "show that $X broke the rule" thing and go straight to "punish X". That's called passing a "bill of attainder", and it's such a terrible idea that the practice is specifically banned in the constitution. Now, maybe this situation isn't technically a bill of attainder, but it's the same damned principle at work, and it's still a bad idea.
Yes, as long as the punishment isn't essentially criminal in nature, you can, and it's long been a regularly used tool of foreign policy, under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. When sanctions are declared against foreign companies or individuals or trade with them otherwise restricted, it's based on declared threats to the country, not general rules that are announced in advance and then the specific individuals involved found guilty in some judicial process of breaking after the rule was declared. It's all by executive finding.
He's not talking about banning the TikTok app narrowly, but banning TikTok from operating in the USA (which, assuming he's acting under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, could also including either preventing or directing and compelling sale, transfer, etc., of any of their property — or any property in which any foreign person holds an interest.)
Does anybody did inspect the binary and found a back door in the app?
In am working in video and I find that the tool they did develop allowing kids to remix video succeeded were previous startup failed...
Got it from this reddit thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/fxgi06/not_new_news...
It'd be awesome if the reverse engineered code was on Github or something. I found this repo but wasn't able to look deep into it yet, so take with a grain of salt: https://github.com/augustgl/tiktok_source
penetrum has this nice white paper:
This is their conclusion:
"After extensive research, we have found that not only is TikTok a massive security flaw waiting to happen, but the ties that they have to Chinese parties and Chinese ISP’s make it a very vulnerable source of data that still has more to be investigated. Data harvesting, tracking, fingerprinting, and user information occurs throughout the entire application. As a US company, we feel that it is our responsibility to raise awareness of this extensive data harvesting to TikTok’s 1 billion users."
There is bad coding in the app but is that enough for the ban?
They also seems to get telemetry data, who does not :-)
* Using Java reflection (which almost everyone does)
* Webview (many of your apps are just thin webview wrappers)
* Log device information (uh, logging things like the OS version for diagnostics and metrics is perfectly normal)
The paper uses the word "monitoring" appearing in a debug message as evidence that the app is built to spy on users. Here's the log message that they want to claim proves TikTok evil-doing:
AFlogger.afInfoLog("Turning on monitoring")
In another section of scare-longering, these "researchers" try to cast asperations on the app calling the Java equivalent of system(3) to run a subprocess. Uh, so what? That's also a fairly common thing to do on Android --- people use it to, e.g., run logcat for diagnostics (logcat filters the logs to only ones from the running UID, so there's no privacy leak).
In yet another section of scare-mongering, the document suggests that TikTok's use of MD5 is some kind of deliberate back-door. No, it's probably just like every other use of MD5 these days: some junior developer who hasn't kept up on the recent MD5 attacks.
Yes, TikTok ignores TLS errors. That's just shitty programming. But like the MD5 thing, I'm going to chalk it up to just shitty coding, not some kind of deliberate spyware backdoor. This code would certainly not pass my code review. But I see no evidence of malice. These are errors that junior developers make everywhere.
There's also a SQL injection. The researchers haven't shown that the inputs to the SQL query are unsanitized, and even so, injecting SQL from a UI text book to the local SQLite database is no big deal. The user owns the device! It's certainly not evidence of some kind of nefarious backdoor.
On top of all of that, the app is sandboxed, like every other Android app. Even if there were some ultra-mega remote code execution facility wired directly to Xi Jinping's desk, there'd be minimal risk, because the app couldn't look at the rest of the system! This whole analysis is aggressively, painfully, and conspicuously stupid. All this article tells me is 1) TikTok's software engineering team is too junior, and 2) people really, really, really want to believe that the app is evil.
This execrable article is one of the worst security reviews that I have ever read, and I've read a lot of them. It makes me yearn for the days of Colin Powell bullshitting the UN about Iraqi yellowcake. At least Powell didn't make 6th grade writing and logic errors.
This is "so if she weighs the same as a duck...she must be a witch!" level of analysis. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5iMhHCGuOI
Are we supposed to admire looting the government as a kind of 5 dimensional chess, where the profiteers weren't actually grifters, but merely trying to make a philosophical point?
You know in security research, there are white hats, who find the exploits, notify about them, and are rewarded with recognition and sometimes bounties.
And there are black hats who use the exploits to pillage. These people don't get credit for 'raising awareness'
And in my view, Palantir is not a white hat libertarian exercise demonstrating how crony capitalism is bad and how we need smaller government.
And GoogleBook aren't using data collection in service of major world power that is, in many senses, an antagonist to the western world, and we have avenues for oversight/reform available to us that we don't necessarily have with tiktok. That's not to say I think we should ban tiktok, but that contemplation of a ban doesn't bring with it the implication that GoogleBook would need the same treatment.
Avenues that seem to be working oh-so-well, with the NSA continuing to operate PRISM and hand out NSLs and gag orders?
It surely is imperfect, but as I said we have tools we can bring to bear, and it's in a context of a working relationship with the US rather than foreign adversaries which is what distinguish those cases from TikTok. If you read that and all you heard was 'Big Tech is Perfect' then I'm just wasting my time here.
I also believe that we need to have a healthy concern for Chinese friendly agents/resources acting in concert, even on (or maybe especially on) technical sites like HN.
But "their" isn't Google or Facebook but the surveillance agencies that are directly plugged in. Much like of what TikTok is accused of doing.
I know you don’t want to hear it, I know you think that you are exceptional and you are not like the others who ban apps and websıtes but I am going to say it anyway as a record for the future.
When Turkey banned YouTube or Twitter of course it was banned to “protect the rights of the citizens”.
Theses things always happen for noble reasons.
Welcome to the world where the government decides what app or service you can use.
I am sure that it’s necessary to keep you safe from these evil foreigners. Could have regulated user data safety but ban is the way to go.
The only downside is, we can no longer argue that in a proper democracies governments don’t ban stuff. USA was the example used to demand rights when people were protesting against totalitarian governments and it’s gone. Now the governments would ban Twitter Facebook and everything else when they feel like doing so and will say that it is for national security reason, look even the USA is doing it!
BTW, Turkey is preparing to ban Twitter again. Of course it is to preserve the rights of its citizens, it always is. China, Cuba, Iran, Russia, Turkey - the usual suspects that ban access, they also ban for the greater good. It is always for national security or to preserver the rights of its citizens.
In short, a president has substantial powers (granted by Congress via IEEPA and CFIUS) to institute a ban or force a divestment of any company "engaged in interstate commerce in the United States", if "national emergency" or "national security" is involved. So, legally, it seems that president can ban TikTok, under certain conditions (that may not be so difficult to achieve). The link above only explains the current legal framework, not whether banning the TikTok is in itself a good or a bad thing. IANAL, so I can't judge the competence of the presented arguments, but it is written by a respected law professor.
The US Administration is acting like a desperate regime that knows exactly what it is doing trying to generate a foreign crisis to distract from domestic political problems to generate a rally-around-the-flag effect.
Not sure where this is coming from. TikTok is being banned out of national security interests, not because it is an advanced level of technology that the US thinks it can't compete with.
I think you meant to say “a thinly-veiled guise of national security interests.”
TikTok is being banned because it’s election season and Trump doesn’t want a repeat of Tulsa.
Now you could argue that's a classic Dubya style ad hoc excuse designed to mask the government's true intentions with this, but I really don't think so. China's behavior is a legitimate threat for which shrugging and saying "let the free market handle it" seems an incredibly dangerous stance to take in my opinion.
Trump is playing with fire here and it’s honestly not very smart. Not when the US has outsourced its industry to China.
"The US needs to recognize they're behind the game and behave like adults" okay so who is the adults? China? Then this IS behaving like adults as I outlined.
The facts: we gain almost nothing by having tiktok around. We lose nothing by banning it, and gain a little bit of buffer against possible threats like election meddling, data mining for nefarious purposes and other things. Completely leaving politics aside, I basically support this.
We gain an outlet or creativity that's particularly fun for teens. You might as well say that we gain nothing by banning skateboards, video games, or rock music.
I would agree more with the ban of there was any evidence of nefarious data mining by TikTok. Outside of weird Internet rumors they only seem to collect basic user data and whatever you write in your profile.
I think apps are interchangeable in a way that tangle things are not. Vine was regarded as indispensable, until suddenly it was gone. And people miss it, but those creative energies have been channeled onto other platforms. Tiktok popped up practically out of nowhere. Now Triller is on the horizon, and who knows what after that.
>Outside of weird Internet rumors
Wowzwers, this does not even come within a country mile of accurate characterization. Tiktok is under investigation for censoring videos to satisfy the Chinese government, they have censored media related to Tiananmen square, have been flagged for 'severe' cybersecurity issues by a cybersecurity firm, and the app is now either restricted or being investigated by numerous countries including the US, India, Taiwan, and Australia.
What about if all non-US countries start reasoning like you and ban Youtube, Facebook, ...?
You lose freedom.
Would it be OK to also ban Burguers? They're unhealthy and you lose "nothing" by banning them.
There used to be a principle of freedom that allowed things not explicitly banned, and banning things would require a good reason.
Is this kind of capriciousness the new normal now?
Banning a widespread intelligence gathering and opinion shaping tool of the Chinese government is completely reasonable.
Except, you know, our rights to the government not controlling our media.
I'm not partial to tiktok at all but this is way to much of a big government move than I feel comfortable with.
Isn't this a violation of our first amendment rights?
No matter how they try to spin off or rebrand this product or abandon ties to the old parent company, I’d never trust it as much as something entirely new.
If the NSA tried putting out a social media network, nobody would trust it. If they sold it off completely and had zero official NSA employees, nobody would trust it. And rightfully so. TikTok feels the same to me.
How ironic to see this statement on HN, when almost every American trusts Google or Facebook despite them being PRISM partners and subject to the control of the NSA.
Or maybe they just want to ban TikTok and the above conspiracy theory is BS.
Arguably it would be a violation of the Bill of Attainder Clause.
I see this as the same thing as banning Huawei.
But from a truly practical point of view, TikTok will just end up replaced by a homegrown version. The real question is, who's homegrown version will be the winner?
I believe FB and Snap are both privately working on a replacement. Not sure about others.
Also the next TikTok clone is going to be a massive succes.
Instagram has already come up with Instagram Reels. After India banned TikTok, Instagram released Reels to the Indian market within the week, and I've got to say it's pretty darn similar to tiktok, so essentially just capitalising on their already humongous user base and the ban.
On one side, there is the concern over China’s connection with Tiktok and their foreign influence on the US.
On the other side, shutting off access to Tiktok allows more domestic control over what mass communication options people have to interact with each other.
There’s something to be gained for someone(s) in both cases.
France may have a the same foreign influence concerns issue with the non-transparency of the FB news feed algo.
I welcome the continued missteps
Yes, but he has probably decided that the people who are active TikTok users AND Trump voters are not a large part of the base.
His calculation is wrong. There's a few remaining bowties in the under 30 group but now probably not more than any other time.
Lucky for him the democrats are profoundly incompetent and would find a way to trip over their own shoelaces while walking barefoot so it may not matter.
However, Iran banned Facebook merely because it was being used by protesters to share content about police brutality during protest.
So I'm not sure if that's a fair comparison.
I think governments are realizing that social networks are important strategic service because of the amount of data they capture. Before internet era countries were protecting way less data about their citizens with their teeths.
If we do introduce the legal/logistical mechanism for the federal government to be able to do that, I can assure you they won’t stop at just tiktok.
The success of the STAR market is a good start. Hope the momentum can sustain this decade, then we may see the tables turned.
But it's also clear that TikTok is under the control of the CCP, at least to the extent the CCP wants that to be the case at any given time.
"He’s now president for life. President for life. And he’s great, and look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday"
I find it interesting that if someone on the right calls themselves capitalists or whatever, that’s taken at face value, but if someone calls themselves communists but they have some accompanying unpleasant characteristics it automatically disqualifies them as being true communists.
Their economic system is state sponsored capitalism but their government and everything else is communist.
That's the travesty. Personally I'm okay with banning tiktok but not this way. The way matters.
During a time of such intense civil unrest, when people are letting strong emotions and groupthink guide them in lieu of reason, I have a feeling this that many will be quick to jump on a bandwagon that's unduly sympathetic to TikTok.
I think I have a pretty good idea of how the media (both social and mainstream) is going to portray this. They'll suddenly forget about the long list of legitimate reasons why TikTok is majorly problematic, and present it as being something where poor little TikTok is being unfairly targeted by big evil xenophobic Trump.
You could make a legitimate argument for why it's unconstitutional or sets a bad precedent for Trump to do this, but that unfortunately doesn't change the one-dimensional way most people are gonna see this.
People have such short memories, and media cycles are too quick. I'm the least fan of Trump, but this is truly one area that the US is taking a stronger stance on than even in my own home country (which I considered more moral, until now).
The national security angle is laughable because we have no such controls over the data held by US companies. Would be trivial for a spy to pipe data out of FAANG to the country they serve - because we have no real privacy laws at the national level. Just look at how a 17 year old breached Twitter.
If social media apps are national security concerns then we should treat them like we do typical defense contractors (background checked/nat security clearance for employees, no foreign nationals on board, control foreign investment, export limitations, etc)
Don’t worry teens: theres always Reels(tm) your government-sanctioned viral video feature!
I think this is a retalitory action because of its use to mess with his reelection. Brad Pascale got demoted over the Tulsa debacle and this is Trump's way to get back at the TikTok users.
While checking my facts, I noticed someone at Forbes was also thinking that its only about Trump as usual and put together a timeline.
A dozen paragraphs in the article and not one questioning whether he can actually do this. What would such an executive action look like? An EO to Apple and Google to de-list the app from their stores? Why should they comply?
What's he going to do when ByteDance uploads the .apk somewhere?
Sick of media treating this man like a zoo exhibit instead of the advanced persistent threat to US democracy he is.
So does Trump really expect TikTok to just disappear like COVID, or is the actual play here to give Trump a strong talking point to fire up his remaining supporters? He'll undoubtedly group constitutionality-litigating Apple/Google with "the left", like everything else that conflicts with his 1850's world view.
FWIW TikTok may be problematic, but it's only slightly more problematic than all of the US-based spyware that has apparently been acceptable for the past decade. The rest of the world has just had to live with the US being able to surveil most of their citizens' digital activity. Now there's a whiff of symmetry and the panic bells are going off.
One could not inspect the data flow after it left the client, but it would still show far more than we normally see from major social-media vendors.
I don't think most Android users know how to install an apk, and as far as I know a similar distribution model is not possible on iOS.
Even if they could - what is a TikTok IP? I'm confident their US endpoints are AWS or Google Cloud - good luck blocking those.
Also ISPs and Mobile Carriers have their own blocking and network redirection methods, like url filtering with transparent proxies, that are used to re-lane traffic based on bandwidth usage. a.k.a putting Netflix on the slow lane
This is a social network which gains from network effects / usage. A social network only accessible to Android users is a ghetto. The vast majority of young people in America use iPhones.
The last time the majority of internet users managed to disobey the government was the heyday of torrenting and Megaupload. That's not going to happen with today's users and today's walled gardens.
I even more doubt that we have the infrastructure in place to do a network-level ban (whatever that would mean) for a single app. It is much easier for me to believe Google/Apple could be strong-armed or sweet-toothed into delisting the app, if it really came down to it.
If 100 russians or whomever can subvert our democracy, we never really had it together to begin with, did we?
Maybe, and this sounds crazy, but maybe it's domestic people trying to whip up a fallacious outside threat for insider political reasons. A totally unheard of phenomenon.
Again to your reply, I don't think you understand how pervasive and wide reaching it has become. We are talking about entire groups of protesters and counter-protesters being organized and subsequently funded through donation platforms solely by foreign social accounts.
What authority does a US president have to tell a US-based software company to not distribute code from its US servers?
There's been precedent set recently with e.g. Huawei: https://www.theverge.com/2019/5/15/18216988/white-house-huaw..., but also keep in mind we have dealt with much stronger things in the past: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Export_of_cryptography_from_th...
It doesn't really matter, because the app code is repackaged at the Google/Apple level. At that point, it is from US-company to US-consumer. There are no "import restrictions" or customs on code (speech) like there are on hardware.
Edit: Yeah, instead of downvoting this into oblivion, how about making an argument that the US Government doesn't have the authority to determine what companies operate within its borders.
Which was ruled unconstitutional.
Well it has the authority that is backed up by both the most powerful economic nation, that has the most powerful military in the world, and which is the nation that contains many of the most valuable companies in the world, which will absolutely follow the orders of our judges.
Also this while apple and Google play stores have not found problems with the TikTok to kick it off their app stores.
If Tiktok is the greatest "threat" than obviously there is less than meets the eye. More likely NSA can't spy on US citizens. Its so obviously easy to check out and block. If I were China, I just make things transparent in the age of built in backdoors would be huge untapped market.
It wouldnt work on five eye, but the other 200+ nations would be won [keep it coming haters]
I don't see what this has to do with our electoral system.
That seems like a rather narrow and emotionally charged stance to take on this issue in my opinion.
Plenty of Trump's EOs have been ruled unconstitutional. He may feel that his authority extends beyond checks and balances, but it doesn't. His attempts to abuse his power have been duly mitigated and stopped about as well (or badly depending on how you look at it) as the last few presidents, as I see it.
Because a computer program is an expression, and the right to free expression is a cornerstone of the first amendment. So broadly, I don't think the government can "ban" an app, no matter who wrote it.
This proposition has been tested and affirmed for source code (see DeCSS t-shirt, etc.) but to my knowledge has not been tested for binaries. So, it would at minimum be a new test of whether binary code is as much a protected expression as human-readable code.
Under the authority of an executive order.
> Why should they comply?
Because these are american companies, who make a bunch of their money in america, and they can be fined many millions or even billions of dollars, or possibly even arrested if they don't comply with the orders of the nation that has the most powerful military in the world.
> What's he going to do when ByteDance uploads the .apk somewhere?
Probably just fine ByteDance, which has a US presence, and many employees/bank accounts that are in the US.
Blatant refusal to follow the law of the most powerful military in the world can be followed up with arrests of employees/executives that are in the US.
The problem with ruling arbitrarily is that it kills predictability and crushes the spirit. It leads to a state of fear in which nobody wants to invest or go out on a limb, because in an environment where you can be punished for anything, everything is dangerous.
That's why I'm personally adamant about requiring a rule before a punishment and why I'm dubious on this recent "let's sanction this one random foreign guy" push.
It is a good general principle to follow, as a very high level rule.
But when a country is in conflict with other nation states, that are not following the same principles as you are, then sometimes a country has to make comprises on their principles in order to not be at a disadvantage.
So if China changes a bunch of their own rules, and becomes a much more free and open country, then I would support giving them the benefit of small government/free market protections.
Nation states conflicts are messy. And you have to compromise on some of your principles in order to prevent others from taken advantage of you, who do not follow your own principles.
> The problem with ruling arbitrarily
It is not arbitrary. The USA is in serious conflict with China. And this is one such action that is at least indirectly related to these higher level nation state conflicts.
This is the same thing as Huawei being banned.
Correct, I am not objective on this topic and made no such implication. If we were all simply objective observational automatons, it would make for a pretty sterile comment section.
> This is the same thing as Huawei being banned.
Someone else said this earlier, and it's pretty different: one is a physical good that goes through customs where there are existing laws that allow for denial of entry. The other is code/speech for which there are no laws granting the executive branch the authority to block.
Let's be realistic, if an app was doing what is alleged here, they should be banned and I'm sure they are provisions to do so without a vote of Congress. Biden campaign was also told to delete TikTok from phones, maybe NSA knows something.
Yep, I also believe that would be in violation of Google/Apple ToS and they would be happy to ban it.
> I'm sure they are provisions to do so without a vote of Congress.
I highly doubt it, and I am waiting to be shown otherwise.
I showed it to you, Huawei. USA gives a LOT of power to the President, sanctions, bans etc etc.
We are a Republic.
This might also help: https://mises.org/wire/stop-saying-were-republic-not-democra...
>The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government
He's ensuring msft can get them at a good price. Trump is very aware of the power of signaling whether it pans out or not.
What's the best VPN to get around this ban?
So no. VPN won't work
A smart business can use this kind of ban for a PR advantage, they can make their app into a symbol of resistance.
They do it to us.
I think it's absurd that there's an Azure and an Azure China. There's a drop-down list where I can pick Australia South East, South India, Japan West, Korea Central... but not China anything.
Chinese citizens are perfectly entitled to spin up a web server in Azure, or AWS, or GCP, any time, any country where they have data centres.
But.. oh no, we non-Chinese-citizens without a permanent address in China aren't allowed to have the reciprocal ability to create a web server in their country. That might step on the CCP's toes. It might spread dangerous information like democracy! It might compete with their government-run businesses. They might not get their beak wet, you see, and that's a problem. No can do. Gotta play the game, take part in the corruption, or no website for you.
Trump talks a lot of talk, but if he really wanted a "fair trade deal", he should just cut them off completely from the Internet. Fuck the great firewall. Fuck dragging people off to "reeducation camps" because they posted the wrong thing online. Fuck banned phrases like Winnie the Pooh.
We should all teach these people a lesson: You can't have it both ways. You can't have censorship and profit off of our freedoms. Pick one.
lived for years in China, good luck communicating with anyone outside China legally in other way than through email and some obscure (video) call apps
My top pick is -
LinkedIn (Most other U.S. social networks are already banned in mainland China anyways, then again LinkedIn is being used extensively by Chinese to do Business with outside world; So I wonder whether China would dare to pull the plug).
Or it may just ban Instagram, Snapchat in HongKong as there is no ban for such U.S. apps in HongKong currently and that technical governance differences with mainland is fast evaporating. But, I wonder whether banning apps in HK would amount to appropriate retaliation in terms of market size.
If the US does this, they'll be losing a lot of goodwill founders from other countries have about the US.
The US is uniquely thought of as a part of every country for business. If you're from third world country but you'd like to do a tech business in the US, you're free to do so without much hurdles by the government. Open competition. No other country is like that.
This is what separated the US from the rest of countries like China. You'd dream that in case your startup got big, you'd move to the US, and hire quality engineers/researchers there. You'd like American protection on free speech to protect your company. Your company would not be banned for 'hurting' people. Rule of law. This is increasingly no longer the case.
Now the US is starting to feel like China and the EU more and more. Even if China's economy was bigger than the US, the US would still be in a good position because of their appearance and rule of law. When it's going to be similar to China, why not just do business with China first altogether since they're going to be the bigger economy? China is slowly becoming more liberal to founders from 3rd world countries now. While America seems to not notice this right now, China is slowly becoming more open to competition from poorer countries. The difference is stark even compared to 5 years ago.
Maybe China might not be so much fair right now to American companies because of a power imbalance where the US is too far ahead on certain things that they feel like after their companies catch up, they want to allow open competition. And they seem to progressing to this trajectory.
How exactly is this against the constitution?
Was banning Huawei unconstitutional too?
India has banned it through possible dubious legal means wouldn't pass muster in most western countries, which I think ByteDance expects will be lifted sometime in the future, since they haven't gone to court over it, and seemingly engaging in some sort of dialogue with the government over it. India had earlier banned it for sometime over allegations of 'pornography', but that was lifted.