Skip to comments.Microsoft Can’t Fix TikTok’s Spying Problems
Posted on 08/06/2020 4:41:50 AM PDT by Kaslin
With over 2 billion downloads worldwide, the Chinese owned viral dance app, TikTok is seemingly a pervasive success. Thanks to President Trump, its also front-page news. On July 31, President Trump threatened to ban the TikTok app in the United States. After a declaration that Microsoft was in talks to purchase TikTok, the president, opting for the diplomatic route, provided a grace period, saying that Microsoft (or another company) could acquire TikTok only if it did so within 45 days and gave the U.S. Government a cut of the deal.
So, would a Microsoft-TikTok marriage be the utopian cure for the problems associated with TikTok? Absolutely not.
Under current Chinese ownership, TikToks troubles are a three-step recipe for disaster. First, TikTok collects your data. Specifically, they have been caught invasively abusing the clipboard by grabbing keyboard content every 1-3 keystrokes. According to research done by Forbes, "The most acute issue with this vulnerability is Apples universal clipboard functionality... If TikTok is active on your phone while you work, the app can basically read anything and everything you copy on another device: passwords, work documents, sensitive emails, financial information. Anything."
Second, it is alleged that they are sharing your personal data with the Communist Chinese Party ("CCP"). The CCP is not a government of respect, benevolence or fairness. They take what they want with no consequence. If they want data from Byte Dance, nothing is stopping them from taking it. Therefore, the CCP can commandeer this data to build a dossier on each user, potentially steal banking data, drain bank accounts or expose sensitive medical information.
Third, is the problem of misinformation. TikTok has been accused of targeting and removing content that does not align with Chinese policies. Essentially, they have the ability to create, delete or alter content to influence and persuade. This is such a serious concern that senators from both sides of the contentious political aisle have jointly raised concerns that TikTok may be used to influence U.S. elections.
Upon cursory evaluation, it would be easy to view a Microsoft purchase of TikTok as a panacea. However, Microsoft has its own sordid ties to Communist China that should at least raise a few red flags. Per Microsofts own words, their most "complete subsidiary and largest R&D center outside of the United States is in China." It is well documented that Microsoft collaborated with a Chinese military-run university on several artificial intelligence research projects that can potentially be used for surveillance and censorship.
Raising further censorship concerns, Microsoft worked with infamously dangerous spying company Huawei to effectively bring listening devices into millions of American homes. Microsoft is also customizing drone software and voice recognition systems for the Chinese market. As Paul Bradfords August 2019 article in American Greatness clearly and correctly states, Microsoft is overjoyed with its relationship with the CCP and is up to no good.
Although a Microsoft purchase of TikTok would technically end Chinese ownership, it would not ameliorate the privacy concerns due to Microsofts cozy relationship with China. In China, there is no actual delineation between business and government. The best solution would be this: The President should place an America First edict on the terms of the sale. TikToks purchaser must be a U.S.-based company, domestically incorporated with a workforce solely based within the 50 states and does no business with China. For too long, China has been viewed as a partner as opposed to an enemy. By incorporating an America First approach, the president would protect U.S. citizens from privacy invasions and stimulate the economy. When the deal closes, the president could celebrate by joining TikTok and become the first president to be a viral dance sensation.
But Google and Facebook aren’t a problem. I see.
The Chinese government is spying on us through Tik Tok. But, if Microsoft buys Tik Tok, then it will be an American company spying on us through Tik Tok and then passing the information to the Chinese government. That would be so much better.
The big Tech companies seem to be a problem.
Basically, the server (and the vast amount of data) would be sitting in the US....if this deal were completed.
Now, within days after that, the EU would demand that a server be set up in each European country and none of the data exit the country unless the person signs off on data-sharing.
Hasn’t Microsoft regularly bought out software companies that do things better than they can?
In this case, spying?
They’ll tie it in with TOIP and ImmuniPass for social scoring us.
China will censor you if you are talking about China. Silicon Valley will censor you for anything against a whole laundry list of issues.
We have a case where a Silicon Valley rival gets taken over by Silicon Valley. In broad daylight.
Can’t = won’t
TikTok is Chinese spyware thinly disguised as a social media app. It snoops on your clipboard and your contacts and it can download and run arbitrary code payloads without your permission.
It uses the OLLVM obfuscation engine to hide its code, which is used by malware to try to hide their activity from forensic analysis. An Android security expert managed to defeat OLLVM to reveal some its naughty behavior.
TikTok is in blatant violation of the TOS for the Google Play Store and the Apple Store for uploaded apps. If a random hacker tried to upload something like TikTok it would get quickly banned, assuming it even was able to pass Google and Apple’s automatic security tests in the first place.
Why do Google and Apple allow such a badly behaved app that so egregiously violates their own TOS rules to the point where the President himself has to threaten to ban it?
I don’t like the government getting a part of the deal. Very bad precedent.
But as to banning the program to eliminate the spying... count me in.
Hasnt Microsoft regularly bought out software companies that do things better than they can?
Personally I think the spy threat from TikTok is real.
Many private companies and other countries have banned it, and they aren’t all delusional. And I agree handing off control to Microsoft won’t necessarily fix that.
The 4D chess view is that Trump is using this to send a message to Big Tech and their social media censors. “Continue to screw with me and I can think of ways to demonetize YOU too.”
Turning over TikTok to Microsoft to address privacy concerns is like hiring former Enron accountants to do your taxes because of audit concerns. To be fair, you could say the same thing about Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Instagram... These are all large entities with significant capabilities - and your information, or more precisely “our” information collectively has value to them for marketing purposes. Of course they’re going to collect whatever they can, whenever they can.
I don’t disagree with you.
Just put an end to this useless (and dangerous) app. If Microsoft wanted to, they could build their own. Stop playing games with China!
Second, it is alleged that they are sharing your personal data with the Communist Chinese Party (”CCP”). The CCP is not a government of respect, benevolence or fairness. They take what they want with no consequence.
Sounds exactly like our government, now.
Bill Gates. Satan’s scourge on earth. Him and the social media scum, all are from Satan’s pen of garbage, filth, scum, wickedness and hate. These liars all claim to speak and allow the world to speak, however, they are of satan and they are all for shutting down everyone that does not agree with their lies, socialist, communism, and liberalism.
I am glad you posted this.
I was wondering if I was the only person who remembered stories like this one:
Third, is the problem of misinformation. TikTok has been accused of targeting and removing content that does not align with Chinese policies. Essentially, they have the ability to create, delete or alter content to influence and persuade.
Just like Facebook, Twitter, Google etc!
Difference between democrats and the CCP?
Not much. The democrat party has not killed as many people yet.
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