Last July the popular video sharing app, TikToc was in the headlines. It was deemed by many as a Chinese spy machine. Government officials, CEOs, and many young influencers warned us of the dangers of using it. The U.S. Army banned the app on any official device. India banned it altogether.
TikTok has been in Trump’s crosshairs since August 2020 when the President issued an order to ban transactions between U.S. and foreign entities. But that’s not all. A month later the Department of Commerce issued an order to block downloads. A lot has happened since then that has led to, well, nothing.
A lot of people however are honestly worried about TikTok, as well as FaceBook, both of whom track you when you’re not using them and your phone is turned off. TikTok spokespersons have said information would never be shared (data mining) with China, though some have found evidence to the contrary.
A technology officer at a privacy company found when he opened the app, over 200 network requests were made in the first few seconds, much of which was about the user’s phone. Turns out there is also a “hole” that can hide info from independent researchers such as the technology officer. Of course, that’s supposed to be a security measure to disrupt hackers.
Another company discovered the TikTok app was accessing the contents of people’s iPhone clipboards. TikTok told them it was an anti-spam measure and updated the app to stop it. FaceBook had to dish out billions after it was accused of privacy invasion.
Getting back to Trump. The President has filed an appeal over a federal judge’s order to prohibit the government from banning downloads from the app. Trump had approved the establishment of a U.S.-based TikTok Global partially owned by U.S.-based companies. That deal has not happened.
All this hacking, storing info and data mining is one thing but the real threat has been around for centuries. It’s the spy himself. TikTok, Facebook, and the next generation of social media platforms are made possible by humans. And that will never change.
So, if we don’t want our business out there, I guess we need to go back to pen and paper and face-to-face interaction. You know, rather than text, write a letter to a friend and use that pie hole for spreading good news, not gossip and false information. That sounds pretty darn good to this baby-boomer.
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