•   
  •   
  •   

Technology What we know about Trump’s ‘ban’ on TikTok and WeChat

01:06  19 september  2020
01:06  19 september  2020 Source:   engadget.com

What’s Going on With Trump’s TikTok Ban and the Microsoft Deal?

  What’s Going on With Trump’s TikTok Ban and the Microsoft Deal? As TikTok users continue to hold their looped breath, Microsoft is again trying to acquire the app after dealing with some Trump-prompted confusion.Trump also weighed in — somewhat confusingly — on a developing (seemingly White House-backed) deal aimed at avoiding the ban between ByteDance, the Chinese internet company which owns the app, and Microsoft. “[It’s] not the deal that you have been hearing about,” Trump continued, “that they are going to buy and sell, and this and that — and Microsoft and another one. We’re not an M&A [mergers and acquisitions] country.

When the Department of Commerce said Friday that it would soon bar all new downloads of WeChat and TikTok from US App Stores, it marked the latest escalation in the weeks-long saga over TikTok’s future in America. The drama has been playing out since early August, when Donald Trump first said he intended to ban the app if it didn’t sell its US operation to an American company. But there are still many unanswered questions and a total ban of the app is far from guaranteed. Here’s what we know about where things stand — for now.

TikTok is reportedly planning to sue the Trump administration over its ban as early as Tuesday

  TikTok is reportedly planning to sue the Trump administration over its ban as early as Tuesday NPR reported that a source says TikTok plans to sue the Trump administration, arguing that the order "failed to give the company a chance to respond."President Donald Trump's executive order on Thursday banned US individuals and companies from engaging in business transactions with TikTok parent company Chinese firm ByteDance.

A U.S. flag is seen on a smartphone in front of displayed Tik Tok and WeChat logos in this illustration taken September 18, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration A U.S. flag is seen on a smartphone in front of displayed Tik Tok and WeChat logos in this illustration taken September 18, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Will TikTok actually be banned?

Importantly, there are two key dates here. The first is Sunday, September 20, when new downloads will be blocked from US app stores. But the 100 million or so people who already use TikTok in the US will be able to continue to do so, but they won’t be able to download app updates or security patches. There’s also no mention of TikTok’s website, which allows users to view their feeds as they normally would even if they can't upload new clips.

The second date is November 12, when the Commerce Department says the service will face a more sweeping ban that will bar any use of TikTok at all. But this is hardly set in stone either. It notes that if TikTok can address Trump’s “national security concerns” before that date (which would likely entail some kind of deal with Oracle), the order could be lifted.

Trump Wants to Build a Wall Around the Internet. How Worried Should We Be?

  Trump Wants to Build a Wall Around the Internet. How Worried Should We Be? Early this month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the “Clean Network” plan, a trade war offensive aiming to cut Chinese tech companies off from United States consumers. Before a numb and beleaguered public could wrap its head around such a plan, Trump dispatched a pair of chaotic executive orders effectively aiming to ban TikTok and WeChat from American app stores within 45 days and then lobbed on a third executive order last Friday, extending the deadline for TikTok’s China-based parent company ByteDance to sell off its assets which support the operation of TikTok in the U.S. to 90 days.

As Missouri Senator Josh Hawley suggested in a tweet, the order seems to be more about applying pressure to China, rather than implementing a total ban right now. So in a sense, the latest threat actually gives TikTok a little more time to solidify a deal.

But! China could still throw a wrench in these plans.

Speaking of China, the Chinese government has a say in all this. Even if TikTok agrees to a deal that satisfies Trump, ByteDance still needs approval from China. Further complicating matters is the fate of TikTok’s recommendation algorithm, which now falls under the Chinese government’s trade rules on AI technology exports.

What exactly are the “national security concerns” anyway?

As we’ve previously pointed out, the Trump administration has yet to present any hard evidence of the supposed national security threat posed by TikTok. The main concern has been that as a Chinese tech company, ByteDance could be forced to hand over user data or otherwise work with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to surveil American users. (TikTok has insisted it wouldn’t comply with such requests.) In the DoC order, the government says that TikTok “collects vast swaths of data from users” and is “an active participant in China’s civil-military fusion and is subject to mandatory cooperation with the intelligence services of the CCP,” but cites no specifics.

Trump to block U.S. downloads of TikTok, WeChat on Sunday

  Trump to block U.S. downloads of TikTok, WeChat on Sunday Trump to block U.S. downloads of TikTok, WeChat on Sunday Reuters See more videos SHARE SHARE TWEET SHARE EMAIL What to watch next Apple delivers blowout earnings amid COVID-19, market shrugs off iPhone delays Reuters Google's $2.1 billion Fitbit deal faces EU antitrust probe: sources Reuters Google's $2.1 billion Fitbit deal faces EU antitrust probe: sources Reuters Facebook, Google absorb U.S.

Critics have pointed out that the data collected by TikTok is similar to what other popular apps (including Facebook) scoop up, and that Trump has shown little interest in regulating other apps from Chinese tech companies.

What does TikTok have to say about all this?

Unsurprisingly, TikTok says it’s “disappointed” in the latest turn of events and that it will “continue to challenge the unjust executive order.” In a statement, a company spokesperson said the company has already gone out of its way to appease the government’s demands.

“In our proposal to the US Administration, we've already committed to unprecedented levels of additional transparency and accountability well beyond what other apps are willing to do, including third-party audits, verification of code security, and US government oversight of US data security,” the spokesperson said. “Further, an American technology provider would be responsible for maintaining and operating the TikTok network in the US, which would include all services and data serving US consumers. We will continue to challenge the unjust executive order, which was enacted without due process and threatens to deprive the American people and small businesses across the US of a significant platform for both a voice and livelihoods."

Hillicon Valley: Trump's ban on TikTok, WeChat in spotlight | NASA targeted by foreign hackers | Instagram accused of spying in lawsuit

  Hillicon Valley: Trump's ban on TikTok, WeChat in spotlight | NASA targeted by foreign hackers | Instagram accused of spying in lawsuit Welcome to Hillicon Valley, The Hill's newsletter detailing all you need to know about the tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. If you don't already, be sure to sign up for our newsletter with this LINK.Welcome! Follow our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech reporter, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@chrisismills), for more coverage.ALL ABOUT TIKTOK: The Trump administration announced Friday that it will ban WeChat and TikTok from U.S. app stores starting Sunday.The order is a significant escalation against the two Chinese-owned apps that have massive user bases in the U.S.

Who else is on their side?

TikTok isn’t alone in its opposition to the government’s measures. The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement calling Trump’s actions “an unprecedented abuse of emergency powers.”

Selectively banning platforms does little to protect our personal data from abuse — comprehensive surveillance reform and consumer privacy legislation would actually help accomplish that goal. Instead, the bans could cut off the flow of information, art, and communication that social media provides, interfering with communities and connections users in the United States have with each other and with people around the world. This interference with freedom of expression and association violates the First Amendment.

TikTok also found another, somewhat unlikely, defender in Instagram chief Adam Mosseri, who said “a US TikTok ban would be quite bad for Instagram, Facebook, and the internet more broadly.” (Mosseri didn’t, however, respond to TikTok Interim CEO Vanessa Pappas’ suggestion that Facebook and Instagram “publicly join our challenge and support our litigation.”)

Where does WeChat stand in all this?

While TikTok could still find a way forward, WeChat’s situation is much more dire. As The New York Timespoints out, the Commerce Department’s order could seriously affect WeChat’s usability much more quickly.

TikTok and WeChat both managed to avoid their Sunday bans

  TikTok and WeChat both managed to avoid their Sunday bans One reprieve came via “blessing” from President Trump, the other came via a judge’s orderBut as of Sunday afternoon, each has received a reprieve from a US ban, at least temporarily. President Trump said Saturday he had given a deal between TikTok, Oracle, and Walmart his “blessing,” prompting a one-week delay from the Commerce Department on TikTok’s ban. And a judge in California issued a preliminary injunction blocking the administration’s WeChat ban.

“Because of the ban on transactions between American businesses and WeChat, the service may begin to degrade on Sunday,” The NYT says. “Messages may begin sending slowly or even time out.”

Though WeChat has significantly fewer users in the US than TikTok — Tencent’s app had 3.3 million monthly active users in the US in August, according to data from App Annie —  it’s a hugely important service for those with family and friends in China, where the app essentially is the internet. WeChat is so dominant in China it’s used for everything from messaging and social media to banking and booking doctor’s appointments. So even though the American version of the app is significantly different, it’s still an essential link back to the country for anyone with any kind of ties to the country, business or personal.

TikTok's US ban is on hold. What comes next? .
TikTok averted a ban in the United States last week when a federal judge ruled that Washington couldn't block it from app stores just yet. © Chine Nouvelle/Sipa/Shutterstock The logo of TikTok is seen on a smartphone screen in New York, the United States, Aug. 30, 2020. The short-form video app is still accessible, but its fate in the country is far from certain. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

usr: 0
This is interesting!