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He made clear the Biden administration’s threat to ban TikTok

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Reports that the Biden administration is threatening to ban TikTok, and most downloaded And one of most used Apps in the country caused users to erupt in suspicion and indignation on Thursday.

Some have called it a violation of the First Amendment. Others claimed it was a hoax to help Instagram Reels, the short video service from Facebook Meta owner. Some have questioned why TikTok is classified as a threat, considering the number of apps that collect personal data of their users.

Some simply appealed to policymakers for sympathy. “Please don’t ban TikTok. My teenage son and I had a lot of fun there,” said a Twitter user named Amy Vance. chirpthen added, “Together…”

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Here’s a quick summary of what’s happening and why, along with some pros and cons of the management stance.

What do you want management?

President Biden is trying to do the same as President Trump sought to do: Take TikTok out of the hands of a Chinese company subject to Chinese law. The app was created by ByteDance, an internet-focused company founded in China in 2012. Although ByteDance has attracted some global investors, it is still controlled by its Chinese founders.

The Trump administration went so far as to ban TikTok in the US in 2020. That was it It was blocked by two federal courtshowever, which considered that the administration had overstepped its authority.

Recently, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a group of federal agencies that studies national security issues raised by such investments, gave ByteDance an ultimatum, according to a Wall Street Journal And many more niches: Sell your TikTok or face a ban in the US. A TikTok spokesperson said it’s a sale It will not address national security concerns Because it will not put any new restrictions about accessing the app’s data.

TikTok’s CEO is set to testify at a congressional hearing next week. The company proposed that US users’ data be stored in that country, with technical and corporate protections designed to prevent Chinese government access. But US officials seem unconvinced that this approach will effectively address their concerns.

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Congress, meanwhile, is considering national ban On apps controlled by the Chinese government. And the federal government, like many national and local governments around the world, has TikTok is banned On devices issued to its employees. Orange County Join their ranks Tuesday.

Could the government really ban TikTok?

Telecom industry experts say this is technically possible, but there are issues.

The two main players here are the two companies that make operating systems and the dominant mobile app stores, Apple and Google. They could help the government enforce compliance by removing TikTok from their app stores, which would force anyone who wanted to install or update software on their phone to “sideload” it from another source.

This isn’t difficult on an Android phone, but on an Apple iPhone it’s much more complicated — at least for now. under pressure from the United States And European governmentsApple will reportedly allow side-loading in its new operating system that is expected to be released this year.

Apple and Google could go further, using their control over the software on their devices to make their phones incompatible with TikTok. At the very least, they could force existing TikTok users to stick with the current version of the software, whose performance will likely deteriorate over time.

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There is a trade-off with this approach, said Emma Lanseau, director of the Free Speech Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology. Without regular privacy and security updates, she said, the app would become “a great target for people looking to exploit outdated software,” adding: “It creates another type of vulnerability that will affect millions of people, including many young adults.”

If the government officially bans TikTok, network operators can block traffic between the company’s servers and US users. Michael Calabrese, director of the Wireless Future Project at New America, said the app’s massive user base may rush to find ways to circumvent any barriers, such as using virtual private networks to connect to TikTok through other countries. “Smart Chinese can do it, so [it] It should be much easier here,” Calabrese said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes a thing.”

Why is TikTok a target?

The Biden administration and members of Congress from both parties have been raising concerns about TikTok for months. Although some lawmakers have complained about the network’s content and its impact on young people, the main issue is the network’s owners.

It’s the potential for exploitation by China’s authoritarian government that makes the app’s privacy threats unique, said Sarah Collins, senior policy advisor for advocacy group Public Knowledge. “If TikTok were magically owned by an American company, we’d be talking about it at the same time we’re talking about Google or Facebook,” she said.

Collins said TikTok collects a lot of data about its users, including their locations and contacts. Other companies do too, largely because federal law doesn’t protect that information. In fact, Collins said, “There’s a whole industry of data brokers selling this data.”

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“It’s hard to solve the TikTok problem when the US has a privacy problem,” she said.

One concern, however, is that Chinese Communist Party or Chinese government officials will demand access to the data for far less benign purposes than personalizing your video stream. Under Chinese law, ByteDance is required to turn over personal information related to national security whenever requested by the government.

It’s not clear what sensitive data, if any, the government in Beijing has collected from TikTok. Part of the challenge in assessing the Biden administration’s position, Lanso said, is that the intelligence community has not shared the information behind its concerns about TikTok — and probably never will.

However, in December, the public got a glimpse into the potential for TikTok to suffer when the company admitted that some of its employees had used the app to Track the location of journalists. TikTok said employees had been tracking news leaks within the company, but for some critics, the episode showed what the Chinese government could do with the platform.

Not only will the Chinese government take advantage of the data TikTok already collects, critics say, it could force the app to collect additional information solely for government purposes. On top of the surveillance threat, they say, China could manipulate TikTok video feeds or the app itself to further its propaganda.

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At a congressional hearing last year, FBI Director Christopher Wray said TikTok raised a number of national security concerns. “It includes the possibility that the Chinese government can use it to control the collection of data on millions of users or to control the recommendation algorithm, which can be used for influence operations if they choose to do so, or to control software on millions of devices, giving them an opportunity to technically hack personal devices,” Ray said. , According to National Public Radio.

There again, neither China nor TikTok is unique, Lansu said. She said that anyone who uses social media networks must assume that many governments are trying to influence them — not just authoritarian regimes, but Western democracies as well.

About the Times Utility Journalism Team

This article is from the Times’ facilities journalism team. Our mission is to be essential to the lives of Southern California residents by spreading information that Solve problems, answer questions, and help make decisions. We serve audiences in and around Los Angeles – including existing Times subscribers and diverse communities whose needs have not been historically met by our coverage.

How can we be of benefit to you and your community? Email tool (at) latimes.com or one of our journalists: Matt BallingerAnd John HealyAnd Ada TsengAnd Jessica Roy And Karen Garcia.

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Medjourney allegedly banned a journalist over images of Trump’s arrest made by Amnesty International

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New York prosecutors are believed to be about to file an indictment against Donald Trump over hush money payments to a former adult movie star. Stormy Daniels. This will be the first time in US history that a president, former or current, will face criminal charges.

Many imagine – some of them elated – what it would look like to arrest Trump. Among them is Eliot Higgins, best known as the founder of the open source investigative journalism website Bellingcat. This week, Higgins used the AI ​​image generator Midjourney to film Trump’s arrest. he Share 50 photos on TwitterAnd soon they spread rapidly.

As a result, he said on Wednesday, Midjourney appears to have suspended him from the service. Medjourney did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (The word “suspended” is now banned on the platform.)

Higgins, 44, told BuzzFeed News that he “was juggling a lot of prompts to see what’s possible and how complex you can make it.” He pushed Midjourney to capture what Trump would look like if he were Overrun by the police On the streets of New York outside a building that looks eerily like Trump Tower, how His kids will reactAnd What will his life be like in prison?.

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Here are the best cheap wireless earbuds under $25 on Amazon

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I’ve lost my AirPods, and I simply refuse to pay for new ones. The latest 3rd generation AirPods – And it’s great! I checked it! Starting at $169. The older, second-generation version is $120 (yes, there are sometimes deals online). These prices are not ridiculous. After all, they’re premium products, and the price point is in line with other high-quality wireless headphones.

However, I simply don’t want to pay $169 for headphones. I’d rather pay way less. Say… $20, maybe $25? I don’t think I need to explain myself here. I would like to keep more money in my pocket. This seems somewhat reasonable.

And yes, I am very willing to settle for quality. Apple AirPods have spatial sound with Dolby Atmos, great pairing functionality, and long battery life. I don’t expect $20 to make all of that happen, but I do want something completely acceptable.

Fortunately, Amazon has an amazing selection of cheap AirPod-like wireless earbuds. They have weird brand names you’ve never heard of, prices seem random (and there’s often a coupon on Amazon, which makes it even more confusing on pricing). I set out to test them out to find out which one fit my needs: cheap, but still usable.

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I tested five anonymous brand white earphones, or, as I like to call them, the ShitPods.

My criteria for selecting five of the many options were:

• It should look like an AirPod. I skip the colorful or differently shaped earbuds that might have been just as good.

• Price point under $25.

• Lots of reviews, good or high rating. (Yes, this can be played around with, but at least it’s a start.)

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• Free shipping and returns with Amazon Prime.

But first, there are two disclaimers:

1) I use headphones mostly to listen to podcasts and audiobooks. Music quality is not my primary concern. If you are an audiophile or music is your passion, you will likely pay more money to get better headphones. I also use it for phone calls, so microphone quality—the person on the other end needs to be able to hear me well—is important to me.

2) All of these things were available on Amazon, but by the time I tested them for a month, two of the original five listings had already disappeared. That’s because Amazon’s marketplace for cheap electronics is a fun house for hyper-capitalist acceleration, as New York Magazine’s John Herrmann explained in his recent article “Paired Amazon. There are strange fake brand names like “CXK” or “Raviad”. Reviews often deceptive or fake, The sellers are often not the manufacturers, and the prices are constantly changing. Chances are that if you read this a few months after it was posted, the product links will change again.

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@therapistzach deals with his bad TikTok username

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Laser, 30, is a licensed clinical social worker in Chicago who runs his own center Special training, created TikTok less than a month ago to post videos about the kinds of things he focuses on with his customers: self-esteem, body image, anxiety. Then, last week, he got a comment on one of his videos.

“At that moment, my blood was hot,” Laser told BuzzFeed News.

Laser, who now has nearly 31,000 followers on the app, said he never thought of a different reading of the words when he did the math, and in his job he sees the word “therapist” so often that he never thought of another interpretation.

Several commenters have pointed out that it looks like a joke in a Saturday Night Live Sitcom “Celebrity Jeopardy” featuring Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery:

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