There's all this news about TikTok possibly being banned in the United States.
So what exactly is going on?
The general concern is that the TikTok app, which is owned by a Chinese company, could be used to spy on us citizens.
So let's get some context and start with the basics.
TikTok came to the US by way of an app called Musically.
Musically was a video sharing app where people would frequently lip sync the songs.
A Beijing Beijing based company called ByteDance purchased musically and merged it into ByteDance's existing App, TikTok.
There is also a China internet security lock, it requires that critical information infrastructure operators Store their data on users on servers in China.
companies that operate within China are legally bound to enforce censorship, and will be held responsible for content spread through their platforms.
The Tick Tock app is not available in China but bytedance does operate another social network app there According to estimates Tick Tock has been downloaded over 2 billion times.
So let's talk about Tick Tock and security concerns.
In November of 2019.
news outlets reported that a Commerce Department committee in the US began a national security review of Tick Tock The New York Times reported that one of its sources said the American government had evidence of the Tik Tok app sending data to China.
In January of this year, the US Department of Defense advise the military to block access.
To tick tock.
The military took the advice and tick tok is not allowed on phones issued by the government to the army or Navy.
In March, Senator Josh Hawley announced legislation that would ban tik tok from government devices.
Of all federal employees.
Holly says that Tik Tok collects information about the messages sent in the app keystrokes and location data.
Senator Holly said quote we know it is a national security risk.
Well now the US is considering blocking the app on a national level, secretary of state Mike Pompeo said people who downloaded the app are putting private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party, when asked if Chinese social media apps should be banned, especially tik tok.
Pompeo told Fox News we are taking this very seriously, and we are certainly looking at it.
With respect to Chinese apps on people's cell phones.
I can assure you, the United States will get this one right to let's look outside of the United States.
59 apps including Tick Tock were banned in India because of national security concerns.
In this statement, the Indian government said that its Ministry of Information Technology Received many complaints about misuse of some mobile apps for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users data in an unauthorized manner to servers, which have locations outside India.
There's also news out of Australia where members of parliament are looking to have tiktok banned in a report by the Daily Mail.
An unnamed member of Parliament said that TikTok should be considered as an effort by the Chinese Communist Party to collect data.
In January, TikTok was banned from Australian defense force devices over security concerns.
Companies are also concerned with TikTok.
Amazon sent a memo to employees to delete TikTok from their phones.
That memo said the app poses security risks Without specifics, removing the app meant employees could still access the work email on their phones.
Then hours later The company said the memo was sent in error.
Here's Amazon's official statement.
This morning's email to some of our employees was sent in error.
There is no change to our policies right now with regard to tick tok.
Then there's Wells Fargo is asked employees to remove tik tok from their work phones.
In this statement, a Wells Fargo spokesperson said that due to concerns about Tik Tok's privacy and security controls and practices, and because corporate owned devices should be used for company business only, we have directed those employees to remove the app from their devices.
So what has TikTok said about this?
In a blog post from October 2019 the company said, we store all US user data in the United States with backup redundancy Our data centers Are located entirely outside of China, and none of our data is subject to Chinese law.
The company also said Let us be very clear Tick Tock does not remove content based on sensitivities related to China.
We have never been asked by the Chinese government To remove any content and we would not do so if asked.
We are not influenced by any foreign government including the Chinese government.
TikTok does not operate in China, nor do we have any intention Doing so in the future.
Now in November of 2019 ByteDance said Tik Tok has made clear that we have no higher priority than earning the trust of users and regulators in the US and that it does not send a user data to China.
In July of 2020 Tik Tok said it planned to exit Hong Kong in reaction to a Chinese security law.
The criminalizes secession, subversion, organization and perpetration of terrorist activities and collusion with a foreign country.
So how would a US ban of Tik Tok even work the US government would have to find a legally sound reason To request that Apple and Google pull TikTok from their app stores.
This is according to analysts, the Trump administration has limited authority to ban outright any specific piece of software like an app.
Kurt Opsahl, the general counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation said the administration Could potentially lobby Congress to enact legislation that targets Tik Tok.
This could lead to legal challenges under the First Amendment.
Previous court ruling said that code is speech.
Tik Tok could also be put on the entity list by the US Commerce Department like Huawei was That restricts access to us technology.
If TikTok were added to that list, it would be removed from Apple and Google's online stores.
Then there's Apple and Google, either company or both could push back.
On the practical side.
Even if the app were removed from Google's official store.
The app could still be loaded from outside the Play Store.
Additionally, anyone who already had access to the TikTok app Would still be able to use it.
There's also the idea that the US could block traffic to tik tok but that is very unlikely.
As of this recording, there have been no formal findings by the US on whether Tik Tok is a national security risk.
We'll have more as the story develops on my as actor and I'll see you online.
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