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   Non-TechBinary Hodgepodge

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From: Glenn Petersen3/16/2023 4:52:02 AM
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U.S. Pushes for TikTok Sale to Resolve National Security Concerns

New York Times
March 15, 2023

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration wants TikTok’s Chinese ownership to sell the app or face a possible ban, TikTok said on Wednesday, as the White House hardens its stance toward resolving national security concerns about the popular video service.

The new demand to sell the app was delivered to TikTok in recent weeks, two people with knowledge of the matter said. TikTok is owned by the Chinese internet company ByteDance.

The move is a significant shift in the Biden administration’s position toward TikTok, which has been under scrutiny over fears that Beijing could request Americans’ data from the app. The White House had been trying to negotiate an agreement with TikTok that would apply new safeguards to its data and eliminate a need for ByteDance to sell its shares in the app.

But the demand for a sale — coupled with the White House’s support for legislation that would allow it to ban TikTok in the United States — hardens the administration’s approach. It harks back to the position of former President Donald J. Trump, who threatened to ban TikTok unless it was sold to an American company.

TikTok said it was weighing its options and was disappointed by the decision. The company said its security proposal, which involves storing Americans’ data in the United States, offered the best protection for users.

“If protecting national security is the objective, divestment doesn’t solve the problem: A change in ownership would not impose any new restrictions on data flows or access,” Maureen Shanahan, a spokeswoman for TikTok, said in a statement.

TikTok’s chief executive, Shou Zi Chew, is scheduled to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee next week. He is expected to face questions about the app’s ties to China, as well as concerns that it delivers harmful content to young people.

A White House spokeswoman declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman for the Treasury Department, which has led the negotiations with TikTok. The Justice Department also declined to comment. The demand for a sale was reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal.

TikTok, with 100 million U.S. users, is at the center of a battle between the Biden administration and the Chinese government over tech and economic leadership, as well as national security. President Biden has waged a broad campaign against China with enormous funding programs to increase domestic production of semiconductors, electric vehicles and lithium batteries. The administration has also banned Chinese telecommunications equipment and restricted U.S. exports of chip-manufacturing equipment to China.

The fight over TikTok began in 2020 when Mr. Trump said he would ban the app unless ByteDance sold its stake to an American company, a move recommended by a group of federal agencies known as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS.

The Trump administration eventually appeared to reach a deal for ByteDance to sell part of TikTok to Oracle, the U.S. cloud computing company, and Walmart. But the potential transaction never came to fruition.

CFIUS staff and TikTok continued to negotiate a deal that would allow the app to operate in America. TikTok submitted a major draft of an agreement — which TikTok has called Project Texas — in August. Under the proposal, the company said it would store data belonging to U.S. users on server computers run by Oracle inside the United States.

TikTok officials have not heard back from CFIUS officials since they submitted their proposal, the company said.

In that vacuum, concerns about the app have intensified. States, schools and Congress have enacted bans on TikTok. Last year, a company investigation found that Chinese-based employees of ByteDance had access to the data of U.S. TikTok users, including reporters.

The White House last week backed a bipartisan Senate bill that would give it more power to deal with TikTok, including by banning the app. If it passed, the legislation would give the administration more leverage in its negotiations with the app and potentially allow it to force a sale.

The post U.S. Pushes for TikTok Sale to Resolve National Security Concerns appeared first on New York Times.

U.S. Pushes for TikTok Sale to Resolve National Security Concerns – DNyuz

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From: Ron3/16/2023 10:38:36 PM
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Wave of Stealthy China Cyberattacks Hits U.S., Private Networks, Google Says
Attacks represent new level of ingenuity and sophistication from China, according to researchers

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From: Ron4/9/2023 11:24:35 AM
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Inside the international sting operation to catch North Korean crypto hackers

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From: Ron4/10/2023 3:22:19 PM
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FBI Warns Against Using Public Phone Charger Stations 'juice jacking'

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From: Glenn Petersen4/24/2023 11:16:07 AM
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U.S. Supreme Court to decide if public officials can block critics on social media
By John Kruzel
April 24, 2023

WASHINGTON, April 24 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court, exploring free speech rights in the social media era, on Monday agreed to consider whether the Constitution's First Amendment bars government officials from blocking their critics on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

The justices took up an appeal by two members of a public school board from the city of Poway in Southern California of a lower court's ruling in favor of school parents who sued after being blocked from Facebook pages and a Twitter account maintained by the officials.

The justices also took up an appeal by a Michigan man of a lower court's ruling against him after he sued a city official in Port Huron who blocked him on Facebook following critical posts made by the plaintiff about the local government's COVID-19 response.

At issue is whether a public official's social media activity can amount to governmental action bound by First Amendment limits on government regulation of speech.

The justices faced a similar First Amendment issue in 2021 involving a legal dispute over former President Donald Trump's effort to block critics from his Twitter account. The justices brought an end to that court fight after Trump had left office by deciding the case was moot, throwing out a lower court's decision that found that the former president had violated constitutional free speech rights.

The California case involves Michelle O'Connor-Ratcliff and T.J. Zane, elected members of the Poway Unified School District. They blocked Christopher and Kimberly Garnier, the parents of three students at district schools, on Facebook and Twitter after the couple made hundreds of critical posts on issues such as race and the handling of school finances.

The Garniers sued O'Connor-Ratcliff and Zane in federal court, claiming their free speech rights under the First Amendment were violated.

Zane and O'Connor-Ratcliff each had public Facebook pages identifying them as government officials, according to the Garniers' court filing. Zane's page was entitled "T.J. Zane, Poway Unified School District Trustee" and included a picture of a school district signage.

O'Connor-Ratcliff also had a public Twitter profile. On that account and her Facebook page, she identified herself as "President of the PUSD Board of Education" and linked to her official email address, the court filing said.

A federal judge in California ruled in favor of the parents in 2021. The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last July agreed, finding that the school board members had presented their social media accounts as "channels of communication with the public" about school board business.

The Michigan case involves Port Huron resident Kevin Lindke, who was blocked from City Manager James Freed's public Facebook page after posting criticism relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lindke sued Freed in federal court, also claiming his First Amendment rights were violated.

Freed's account was a public Facebook page that identified him as a "public figure," included a picture of him wearing his city manager pin and frequently included information about city programs and policies, according to Lindke's court filing.

A federal judge ruled in favor of Freed in 2021. The Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last July agreed, finding that Freed had not been acting in his official capacity when he blocked Lindke from Facebook.

The petitioners in both disputes told the Supreme Court that the divergent outcomes in their cases reflected a divide among lower courts that the justices should resolve.

Reporting by John Kruzel; Editing by Will Dunham

U.S. Supreme Court to decide if public officials can block critics on social media | Reuters

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From: Ron5/5/2023 8:16:04 AM
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$500 million a year from Google may not be enough to save Firefox

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From: Glenn Petersen5/18/2023 5:27:08 AM
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Montana Governor Signs Total Ban of TikTok in the State

The legislation is the most extreme prohibition of the app in the nation and will almost certainly face legal challenges.

By Sapna Maheshwari
New York Times
Published May 17, 2023
Updated May 18, 2023, 12:54 a.m. ET

The governor of Montana, Greg Gianforte, signed a bill on Wednesday to ban TikTok from operating inside the state, the most extreme prohibition of the app in the nation and one that will almost certainly be challenged in court. The ban will take effect on Jan. 1.

“Today, Montana takes the most decisive action of any state to protect Montanans’ private data and sensitive personal information from being harvested by the Chinese Communist Party,” Mr. Gianforte, a Republican, said in a news release.
To protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party, I have banned TikTok in Montana. — Governor Greg Gianforte (@GovGianforte) May 17, 2023
The Montana Legislature introduced the bill in February, leading to months of debate. The proposal, which would affect everyday users of the popular short-form video app, significantly escalated a national rush to ban TikTok on government devices based on concerns about the company’s ownership by the Chinese company ByteDance. The battle over the bill offered a glimpse of what the United States might encounter nationally if lawmakers or the White House attempt a nationwide ban of TikTok, which has been floated in recent months.

TikTok, which says it has 7,000 employees in the United States, has been fighting back in the state for months. It has run ads featuring Montana small businesses that use TikTok and given prewritten emails to users so they could contact Mr. Gianforte about opposing the bill.

The legislation prohibits mobile app stores, like those run by Apple and Google, from offering TikTok within the state. A trade group funded by Apple and Google has said in recent months that it is impossible for the companies to prevent access to TikTok in a single state.

“Governor Gianforte has signed a bill that infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana by unlawfully banning TikTok, a platform that empowers hundreds of thousands of people across the state,” Brooke Oberwetter, a spokeswoman for TikTok, said in a statement on Wednesday. Montanans, she added, can keep using the app “as we continue working to defend the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana.”

Under the legislation, TikTok could face fines if it continues operating in the state, as could Apple and Google if they allow people to download the app.

Apple and Google didn’t immediately return requests for comment.

The battle in Montana erupted during a period of intense national scrutiny on TikTok, which boasts more than 150 million U.S. users. Lawmakers and intelligence officials have said TikTok, because of its ownership, could put sensitive user data into the hands of the Chinese government, pointing to laws that allow Beijing to secretly demand data from Chinese companies and citizens for intelligence gathering.

They have also expressed concern that the app, which is especially popular with teenagers and people in their 20s, could be used to spread propaganda. Congress grilled Shou Chew, TikTok’s chief executive, for roughly five hours at a March hearing that focused largely on the app’s Chinese ownership.

TikTok says it has never been asked to provide, nor has it provided, any U.S. user data to the Chinese government. The company has proposed a detailed plan for operating in the United States that it says should allay national security concerns and fears of misinformation, but the plan has not yet been approved by the Biden administration, leaving TikTok and its future in limbo.

Free speech groups were quick to respond to the Montana ban. The American Civil Liberties Union said on Wednesday that the legislation “flouts the First Amendment.”

“The government cannot impose a total ban on a communications platform like TikTok unless it is necessary to prevent extremely serious, immediate harm to national security,” the group said in a statement. “But there’s no public evidence of harm that would meet the high bar set by the U.S. and Montana Constitutions, and a total ban would not be the only option for addressing such harm if it did exist.”

The Montana bill says the ban will be void if TikTok is acquired by, or sold to, a company that is not incorporated in a country “designated as a foreign adversary.”

David McCabe contributed reporting.

Sapna Maheshwari is a business reporter covering TikTok and emerging media companies. Previously she reported on retail and advertising.

Montana Governor Bans TikTok in the State - The New York Times (

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From: Ron5/23/2023 11:11:36 AM
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Tracking of Citizens and Censorship in Russia's Cyber Gulag

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From: Ron5/24/2023 4:22:04 PM
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Microsoft said its engineers uncovered efforts by a Chinese hacker group to target critical US
Infrastructure organizations

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From: Glenn Petersen5/29/2023 3:53:19 AM
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