I am bewildered by the TikTok hoopla. It is clear the Congresspersons know absolutely nothing that they are talking about.
The TikTok Grand Distraction
As a software developer who has written TCPIP software and programmed microprocessors on the bit level, I can tell everyone in a clear fashion that we are wasting a lot of time on this issue on false premises. In the process, people who have built vertical businesses on this platform are likely panicking.
I find it ironic that we are quick to jump on foreign companies like TikTok but do not do so on foreign companies that truly cause Americans harm. One has to wonder if the ultimate goal is to remove a competitor that figured out how to build a more engaging app than most companies.
It would easy to create a TikTok knockoff that uses multiple American-based servers that transfers information to Chinese servers through transient servers virtually undetected. If we were serious about keeping people’s information private, we would make it illegal to collect the data in the first place, but most people voluntarily provide the data for convenience.
Brett Wilkins from Common Dreams wrote the following.
Civil and digital rights groups this week joined a trio of progressive U.S. lawmakers in opposing bipartisan proposals to ban the social media platform TikTok, arguing that such efforts are rooted in “anti-China” motives and do not adequately address the privacy concerns purportedly behind the legislation.
The ACLU argues that, if passed, legislation recently introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate “sets the stage for the government to ban TikTok,” which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance and is used by more than 1 in 3 Americans. The Senate bill would grant the U.S. Department of Commerce power to prohibit people in the United States from using apps and products made by companies “subject to the jurisdiction of China” and other “foreign adversaries.”
“The government shouldn’t be able to tell us what social media apps we can and can’t use,” the ACLU asserted via Twitter. “We have a right to free speech.”
In a Wednesday letter led by the free expression advocacy group PEN America, 16 organizations including the ACLU argued that “proposals to ban TikTok risk violating First Amendment rights and setting a dangerous global precedent for the restriction of speech.”
“More effective, rights-respecting solutions are available and provide a viable alternative to meet the serious concerns raised by TikTok,” the groups contended, pointing to a February proposal by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) to expedite a probe of the company by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States as a possible way “to mitigate security risks without denying users access to the platform.”
Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) has emerged as the leading congressional voice against banning TikTok, saying Wednesday that he fears the platform is being singled out due in significant part to “xenophobic anti-China rhetoric.”
In his speech, Bowman noted that “TikTok as a platform has created a community and a space for free speech for 150 million Americans and counting,” and is a place where “5 million small businesses are selling their products and services and making a living… at a time when our economy is struggling in so many ways.”
TikTok is a great teaching tool, and Progressives have been taking advantage of it. It is an inexpensive part of the repertoire to inform, engage, and mobilize. When Republican and Democratic leaders are working together as they sing the same hymn.
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