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posted by janrinok on Thursday February 02 2023, @05:37PM   Printer-friendly
from the unintended-consequences dept.

TikTok's CEO agrees to testify before Congress for the first time in March:

As Congress prepares to vote on a nationwide TikTok ban next month, it looks like that ban may already be doomed to fail. The biggest hurdle likely won't be mustering enough votes, but drafting a ban that doesn't conflict with measures passed in the 1980s to protect the flow of ideas from hostile foreign nations during the Cold War.

These decades-old measures, known as the Berman amendments, were previously invoked by TikTok creators suing to block Donald Trump's attempted TikTok ban in 2020. Now, a spokesperson for Representative Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), the incoming chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Ars that these measures are believed to be the biggest obstacle for lawmakers keen on blocking the app from operating in the United States.

Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reported that lawmakers' dilemma in enacting a ban would be finding a way to block TikTok without "shutting down global exchanges of content—or inviting retaliation against US platforms and media." Some lawmakers think that's achievable by creating a narrow carve-out for TikTok in new legislation, but others, like McCaul, think a more permanent solution to protect national security interests long-term would require crafting more durable and thoughtful legislation that would allow for bans of TikTok and all apps beholden to hostile foreign countries.

[...] Back in 1977, Congress passed the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) to empower the president to impose sanctions on and oversee trade with hostile nations. The plan was to prevent average American citizens from assisting US enemies, but the law troubled publishers doing business with book authors and movie makers based in hostile nations. Those concerns led Congressman Howard Berman (D-Calif.) to propose an amendment in 1988, which passed, exempting "information and informational materials" from IEEPA and blocking presidents from regulating these materials.

As technology evolved, in 1994, another IEEPA amendment specifically exempted electronic media, leading to today, when everything from a tweet to a TikTok would be free from presidential regulation under the so-called Berman amendments. How this prevents Congress from passing a new law remains unclear, but the WSJ reports that lawmakers are hesitant to draft legislation limiting TikTok if that could threaten those protections.


Original Submission

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Banning TikTok 19 comments

https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2023/02/banning-tiktok.html

Congress is currently debating bills that would ban TikTok in the United States. We are here as technologists to tell you that this is a terrible idea and the side effects would be intolerable. Details matter. There are several ways Congress might ban TikTok, each with different efficacies and side effects. In the end, all the effective ones would destroy the free Internet as we know it:

There's no doubt that TikTok and ByteDance, the company that owns it, are shady. They, like most large corporations in China, operate at the pleasure of the Chinese government. They collect extreme levels of information about users. But they're not alone: Many apps you use do the same, including Facebook and Instagram, along with seemingly innocuous apps that have no need for the data. Your data is bought and sold by data brokers you've never heard of who have few scruples about where the data ends up. They have digital dossiers on most people in the United States.

If we want to address the real problem, we need to enact serious privacy laws, not security theater, to stop our data from being collected, analyzed, and sold—by anyone. Such laws would protect us in the long term, and not just from the app of the week. They would also prevent data breaches and ransomware attacks from spilling our data out into the digital underworld, including hacker message boards and chat servers, hostile state actors, and outside hacker groups. And, most importantly, they would be compatible with our bedrock values of free speech and commerce, which Congress's current strategies are not.

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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2023, @05:47PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2023, @05:47PM (#1289890)

    Wouldn't it be far easier to deal with the concerns here if they had strong data protection laws and prevent the kind of information that China may or may not be interested in from being collected in the first place? I know millions of FAANG lobbying dollars says otherwise, but that seems to be a much easier solution than to try to carve out TikTok-only exceptions to current law.

    • (Score: 2) by rpnx on Saturday February 04 2023, @08:26AM

      by rpnx (13892) on Saturday February 04 2023, @08:26AM (#1290206) Journal

      TikTok specific exceptions are unconstitutional. It's a social media platform, it cannot be specifically targeted.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by crafoo on Thursday February 02 2023, @05:55PM (10 children)

    by crafoo (6639) on Thursday February 02 2023, @05:55PM (#1289893)

    I do not care that China is harvesting data that the NSA wants instead.

    Let's talk about our government being controlled for foreign influence. You know, dangerous foreign entanglements. Representatives with (let's be realistic) best-case scenario, dual-loyalty to the USA and their 'home' nation. Such a thing should be a federal crime with imprisonment and stripping them of their USA citizenship.

    I don't care about China harvesting user data. I care about our nation being controlled an international clique of bankers and charlatans, middle-eastern grifting camel traders.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2023, @07:45PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2023, @07:45PM (#1289919)

      Would you care to explain which members of Congress you claim have dual citizenship, and with which countries? If you're going to say there's a massive threat, then be specific about what this supposed threat is.

      Are you claiming that Jewish members of Congress have dual citizenship with Israel [politifact.com] and, therefore, aren't loyal to the United States? If so, that's absolutely false.

      Are you objecting to Mehmet Oz running for Senate while having dual citizenship with Turkey [politifact.com]? Oz lost his election, and there was no reason to think that dual citizenship with a NATO ally would cause him to act against American interests in the Senate.

      Is this about Ted Cruz serving as a senator before renouncing his dual citizenship with Canada [npr.org]? Canada is a close ally of the United States, more so than Turkey. There is no reason to think that Ted Cruz acted against the interests of the United States when he also had Canadian citizenship.

      Or is this about James Buchanan and Chester Arthur, 19th century presidents who held dual citizenship? While Buchanan is generally considered among the worst presidents in American history, there is no reason to suspect that this was due to Ireland claiming him as a citizen.

      Would you care to elaborate on your statement? Who has dual citizenship, and to which countries?

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by mcgrew on Friday February 03 2023, @09:11PM

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Friday February 03 2023, @09:11PM (#1290105) Homepage Journal

        His comment suggests he's a Trump Republican (NOT a McCain Republican), so AOC is his obvious target. All of the cult [mcgrew.info] hates her.

        --
        mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by DeathMonkey on Thursday February 02 2023, @08:41PM (2 children)

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Thursday February 02 2023, @08:41PM (#1289923) Journal

      It's true, I was very much concerned by Donald Trump's true loyalty to Russia over the US as well!

      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2023, @09:44PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2023, @09:44PM (#1289938)

        i was also concerned with Barak Boko-Haram Obama's secret dual citizenship of Kenya, Africa and the Islamic State.

        • (Score: 4, Touché) by DeathMonkey on Thursday February 02 2023, @10:32PM

          by DeathMonkey (1380) on Thursday February 02 2023, @10:32PM (#1289948) Journal

          Wow, dual citizenship with a whole continent! That's pretty fucking impressive!

    • (Score: 2) by Tork on Friday February 03 2023, @02:25AM (2 children)

      by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 03 2023, @02:25AM (#1289969)

      Let's talk about our government being controlled for foreign influence. You know, dangerous foreign entanglements.

      Yeah, that'll fight inflation.

      --
      🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
      • (Score: 3, Funny) by DannyB on Friday February 03 2023, @02:57PM (1 child)

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 03 2023, @02:57PM (#1290022) Journal

        It also ignores the most serious and egregious issue of major national importance that we should be highly concerned with. Hillary's Emails!

        --
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        • (Score: 2) by Tork on Friday February 03 2023, @06:43PM

          by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 03 2023, @06:43PM (#1290070)
          Heh. Suddenly Hillary's Emails is considered 'off-topic'!
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          🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by darkfeline on Friday February 03 2023, @11:49AM

      by darkfeline (1030) on Friday February 03 2023, @11:49AM (#1290004) Homepage

      It's not (just) about harvesting data. A look at what content Tiktok promotes, allows, and bans in its home country (and the reason for it) compared to other countries may be enlightening.

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    • (Score: 3, Informative) by mcgrew on Friday February 03 2023, @09:08PM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Friday February 03 2023, @09:08PM (#1290104) Homepage Journal

      Remove citizenship? Where in the constitution does it say the government has that power?

      Oh, you've never read it and don't care whet it says. Never mind. But if you had read it you would know that's why you have to be a natural-born citizen to be president.

      --
      mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
  • (Score: 5, Funny) by DannyB on Thursday February 02 2023, @06:25PM (19 children)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 02 2023, @06:25PM (#1289897) Journal

    As long as Congress wants to ban TikTok to preserve free speech, then it seems like the uniquely American thing to do!

    <no-sarcasm>
    While some other countries may do things like this, is it the knee-jerk reaction that might be uniquely American?

    Could economic considerations be an underlying, but unspoken motivation?

    Those concerns led Congressman Howard Berman (D-Calif.) to propose an amendment in 1988, which passed, exempting "information and informational materials"

    Ah, maybe if we can learn things, we want that information coming into the country. But can you do this in a fine grained way without banning the entire platform? Maybe just ban those few TikToks that are not of major economic value to our industries.
    <really-no-sarcasm>
    But maybe the majority of TikTok has no real value, economic or otherwise?
    </really-no-sarcasm>

    </no-sarcasm>

    --
    With modern TVs you don't have to worry about braking the yolk on the back of the picture tube.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2023, @07:05PM (13 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2023, @07:05PM (#1289907)

      First Amendment is being misapplied in trying to keep TikTok in place, but simple question: Does First Amendment also guarantee the right to track and spy on people, harvest their personal information, and send it to a politically and militarily hostile nation?

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by canopic jug on Thursday February 02 2023, @07:34PM (4 children)

        by canopic jug (3949) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 02 2023, @07:34PM (#1289914) Journal

        Tracking, spying, corporate speech, etc are all the wrong approach and have led, and will continue to lead, nowhere. ByteDance has too easy a time defending the CCP on any of those points. It's not made easier by GAFAM doing the same tracking, spying, advertising, and corporate speech.

        The US Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, pointed out that Tiktok harms the physical and mental health of the young teens [axios.com] which are exposed to it. It's an active public health crisis and needs to be addressed as one, using the means available.

        --
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        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by DeathMonkey on Thursday February 02 2023, @09:02PM (2 children)

          by DeathMonkey (1380) on Thursday February 02 2023, @09:02PM (#1289929) Journal

          Regulating commercial speech is perfectly fine, and has been upheld over and over by the Supreme Court.

          All websites that meet some common threshold need to be held to the SAME standards.

          The Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on national origin. If the Chinese owners of TikTok are here running their US subsidiary within the laws of the land you don't really get to put extra laws on them just because they're Chinese.

          • (Score: 2) by canopic jug on Friday February 03 2023, @03:35AM

            by canopic jug (3949) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 03 2023, @03:35AM (#1289976) Journal

            The Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on national origin. If the Chinese owners of TikTok are here running their US subsidiary within the laws of the land you don't really get to put extra laws on them just because they're Chinese.

            That's kind of the point I was trying to make, though there is a difference between ethnicity and nationality which is being ignored and the confusion is being used as a distraction. The whole matter of spying, advertising, and surveillance is also a distraction from the main events of health and mass manipulation.

            Instead, the wannabe legislators seem to be objecting to Tiktok not because of the many harms it perpetrates upon a whole generation of non-Chinese, including spying, advertising, and censorship, but mainly because it is the CCP taking those actions. They appear to be setting up a big, theatrical fuss so that they can pretend to have done something while in reality when the dust settles they will have a legal go-ahead for further spying, advertising, and censorship.

            Their avoidance of the topic of the many harms Tiktok does to physical and mental health is telling. Physical health is affected, as seen from the constant stream of numerous and severe self-inflicted injuries [nypost.com] goaded on by the app. That is not limited to just eating detergent. The harm to mental health from Tiktok [salon.com] is so severe that even the US Surgeon General has noticed and spoken up. You'd think though that people would get the hint that the harm is weaponized from day one when the CCP prevents Bytedance from doing the same thing in China.

            Notice that Bytedance limits teenagers to less than 40 minutes of access per day in China and, furthermore, during those 40 minutes the kids are shown only educational videos, especially science experiments. The information about Bytedance is out there. Yet the wannabe legislators give every appearance of actively avoiding taking the known facts into account. Even the media, both mainstream and fringe, have largely covered for Bytedance by ignoring the problem. So far, only CBS 60 Minutes covered the intentional nature Tiktok [cbs.com] and its harms. The wannabe legislators and media combined can't all be that stupid, but perhaps maybe they are. However, to me, the simplest explanation is that they wish to make a big, theatrical fuss so that they can pretend to have done something while actually creating a legal go-ahead for further spying, advertising, and mass manipulation of behavior and opinion.

            --
            Money is not free speech. Elections should not be auctions.
          • (Score: 2) by rpnx on Saturday February 04 2023, @08:30AM

            by rpnx (13892) on Saturday February 04 2023, @08:30AM (#1290207) Journal

            Except what you just said isn't true and the Supreme Court held in Reed and other cases the framework for content based speech restrictions. There are limited exceptions but they are much narrower than you believe them to be.

        • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Friday February 03 2023, @04:49PM

          by RS3 (6367) on Friday February 03 2023, @04:49PM (#1290041)

          Tracking, spying, corporate speech, etc are all the wrong approach and have led, and will continue to lead, nowhere. ByteDance has too easy a time defending the CCP on any of those points. It's not made easier by GAFAM doing the same tracking, spying, advertising, and corporate speech.

          I understand your points, and somewhat reluctantly agree in the context of what's been happening in society in general. However I'm a strong personal privacy advocate and I'm deeply troubled that privacy as an issue in and of itself, generally gets pushed aside, and far too many people seem to accept the spying, trading our personal private information, and other violations, as "oh well, what are you going to do?" I'm troubled by that.

          Our laws and legal system in general are an insanely complex tangled morass. I'm hoping AI will be used to clean up all the overlaps and conflicting laws. One can hope, right?

          Many interpret the Fourth Amendment as containing the words "by the government", but it doesn't and I don't. I see it as protecting all of us from any violation of our privacy. Period.

          These people do a pretty good job of summarizing the topic. This link's content is brief and worth a glance:

          https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/right_to_privacy [cornell.edu]

          which is based on:

          https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/fourth_amendment [cornell.edu]

          and several other Constitution and Amendment clauses.

      • (Score: 4, Touché) by DannyB on Thursday February 02 2023, @07:39PM (4 children)

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 02 2023, @07:39PM (#1289918) Journal

        Only the NSA should be doing that.

        --
        With modern TVs you don't have to worry about braking the yolk on the back of the picture tube.
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by RS3 on Friday February 03 2023, @02:50AM (3 children)

          by RS3 (6367) on Friday February 03 2023, @02:50AM (#1289972)

          Well, them and CCP spy balloons [cnn.com]. Right? Maybe?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03 2023, @09:13AM (2 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03 2023, @09:13AM (#1289993)
            Is that confirmed to be a CCP spy balloon though? I mean even youtubers have sent up high altitude balloons. The entry barrier is pretty low.
            • (Score: 3, Informative) by takyon on Friday February 03 2023, @11:45AM

              by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday February 03 2023, @11:45AM (#1290002) Journal

              Playbook: Worries balloon over Chinese spying [politico.com]

              The Pentagon revealed Thursday afternoon that it has detected and is tracking a large Chinese spy balloon floating in the stratosphere above Montana, where it was surveilling a nuclear missile base. The balloon, which entered U.S. airspace on Tuesday, is well above the altitude at which commercial aircraft fly, and Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. PAT RYDER insisted that it “does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground.”

              Officials also noted that it’s not the first time one of these balloons has been spotted in American airspace in recent years — including during the Trump administration. But another official said the balloon has lingered longer than the others.

              “It is appearing to hang out for a long period of time this time around, more persistent than in previous instances,” the official said. And, of course, tensions with China are already high.

              Biden “was briefed and asked for military options,” according to a senior Defense official. He apparently wanted to know if he should blow it out of the sky.

              On Wednesday afternoon, the Billings Logan International Airport was closed for two hours while F-22s were sent up and the airspace around the balloon was emptied.

              --
              [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
            • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Friday February 03 2023, @04:58PM

              by RS3 (6367) on Friday February 03 2023, @04:58PM (#1290045)

              In case you missed the latest news, CCP have admitted it's theirs, but (of course) not admitting it's a spy.

              Like far too many things we may never know.

              I'm hoping our military and DIA know exactly all about it, and maybe have jammed it or rendered it dead with a nice energy pulse weapon (that we don't really have, right?)

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khallow on Friday February 03 2023, @02:41AM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 03 2023, @02:41AM (#1289971) Journal

        First Amendment is being misapplied in trying to keep TikTok in place, but simple question: Does First Amendment also guarantee the right to track and spy on people, harvest their personal information, and send it to a politically and militarily hostile nation?

        I tell you what it does guarantee. You need more than a vague excuse to destroy public forums.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by rpnx on Friday February 03 2023, @03:14AM

        by rpnx (13892) on Friday February 03 2023, @03:14AM (#1289975) Journal

        Yes, the First Amendment gives you the right to transmit information, including about your location, to others, including TikTok. As long as people are aware and consent the First Amendment should be a total defense. What the government could do is raise the consent threshold to informed consent instead of constructive knowledge, but more than that I suspect would not pass constitutional muster.

      • (Score: 2) by rpnx on Saturday February 04 2023, @08:33AM

        by rpnx (13892) on Saturday February 04 2023, @08:33AM (#1290208) Journal

        Yes and no. If people are aware of the tracking, then yes. People have the right to transmit information, including e.g. their location to others. If the tracking is secret than maybe not. Information "collection" is the same as restricting speech in most instances (it just framing it as a restriction on the receiver of speech instead of speaker, but that is mere sophistry) and requires a compelling state interest to regulate.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by DeathMonkey on Thursday February 02 2023, @08:45PM (3 children)

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Thursday February 02 2023, @08:45PM (#1289924) Journal

      Yeah, I thought it was funny how they were describing the First Amendment as "decades old." That's a lot of decades!

      • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2023, @09:47PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02 2023, @09:47PM (#1289939)

        Old laws wear out and become "egregiously wrong" over time, then they need to be replaced with brand new ones that state the opposite. See e.g. Roe vs Wade.

        • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Thursday February 02 2023, @10:37PM

          by DeathMonkey (1380) on Thursday February 02 2023, @10:37PM (#1289949) Journal

          Apparently the one where the government isn't allowed to invade your medical privacy just done wore out!

        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Friday February 03 2023, @02:54PM

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 03 2023, @02:54PM (#1290021) Journal

          It's not just old laws that ware out. It is also constitutional rights that wear out. If Roe v Wade rights can wear out then there's no reason doze 2nd amendment rats can't also dun wear out.

          --
          With modern TVs you don't have to worry about braking the yolk on the back of the picture tube.
    • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Friday February 03 2023, @09:17PM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Friday February 03 2023, @09:17PM (#1290108) Homepage Journal

      As long as Congress wants to ban TikTok to preserve free speech

      That's not why they want to ban it. Do you enjoy looking stupid?

      Could economic considerations be an underlying, but unspoken motivation?

      Oh, I see, you're simply parroting a different moron. FYI, "could" < > "is".

      --
      mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
  • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Thursday February 02 2023, @07:13PM (7 children)

    by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 02 2023, @07:13PM (#1289909) Journal

    If Congress passed a law, then Congress can rewrite it. The biggest obstacle to banning TikTok is the 1st Amendment. Even that has options. I suspect that the courts might find that exporting data from the country was not protected speech. This would be an extremely bad precedent, but the courts have made worse decisions in the past.

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    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by owl on Thursday February 02 2023, @07:38PM (1 child)

      by owl (15206) on Thursday February 02 2023, @07:38PM (#1289917)

      If Congress passed a law, then Congress can rewrite it.

      Exactly. Where the author got the idea of: "How this prevents Congress from passing a new law remains unclear" is laughable. No future congress is constrained (if they do not wish to be) by any "laws" passed by any past congress, because they can simply rewrite that past law to their liking today.

      So, if these past laws cause a speed bump, that just means the congress critters writing the new bills have more work to do to either write to avoid those old laws, or modify those old laws to remove the obstacle.

      • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Thursday February 02 2023, @09:20PM

        by RS3 (6367) on Thursday February 02 2023, @09:20PM (#1289932)

        I agree with you, and have many times ranted about our do-nothing Congress.

        Two factors: it seems they're at odds, fighting, more than ever, but it may be that increased communication (Internet, so many websites, news, blogs, etc.) makes it seem worse than say 50 years ago.

        Secondly, they usually know what the President will sign vs. veto, so they spend less time on things they know will get vetoed, unless they're sure they can override the veto.

        Sometimes, as we've seen, someone will introduce a bill that's DOA just to get some attention and get people thinking about whatever the issue is.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by DeathMonkey on Thursday February 02 2023, @08:48PM (1 child)

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Thursday February 02 2023, @08:48PM (#1289925) Journal

      Congress passed a law,

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

      Leave it to congress to fail within the first five words!

    • (Score: 1, Troll) by mcgrew on Friday February 03 2023, @09:23PM (2 children)

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Friday February 03 2023, @09:23PM (#1290109) Homepage Journal

      The biggest obstacle to banning TikTok is the 1st Amendment.

      I don't think the first amendment has anything to do with a Chinese company or the Chinese government they must report to UNDER CHINESE LAW. I'm also not sure if our constitution applies to China, but I don't think it does.

      Note: the idea that banning a single foreign app is infringing on Americans' free speech rights is too ludicrous to even be humorous.

      --
      mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by HiThere on Saturday February 04 2023, @12:06AM (1 child)

        by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 04 2023, @12:06AM (#1290145) Journal

        If the law is passed by the US govt, it definitely DOES apply. The 1st amendment says nothing about who's doing the speaking or what the religion is.

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        • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Saturday February 04 2023, @04:25PM

          by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Saturday February 04 2023, @04:25PM (#1290250) Homepage Journal

          If reason and logic applied to the Supreme Court, they wouldn't have ruled that when the constitution says patents and copyrights are allowed for "limited times" that "limited" means whatever congress says it means, let alone some of its rulings on slavery.

          In the late 1800s, Asians weren't even allowed on US soil, so how can you know that SCOTUS will say they have the same rights as American citizens?

          --
          mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Thursday February 02 2023, @07:24PM (1 child)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 02 2023, @07:24PM (#1289911) Journal

    retaliation against US platforms and media.

    Someone help me out here. This would be a problem, how?

    Our BFFs in Europe are busy slapping the shit out of US tech companies right now, and I'm cheering them every time they land another bitch slap. US tech companies are out of control, as are US intel agencies.

    Retaliate away, China, Russia, the rest of Asia, Africa, South America - and even our friends in Canada. Retaliate any way you care to retaliate.

    • (Score: 0, Troll) by DannyB on Friday February 03 2023, @03:05PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 03 2023, @03:05PM (#1290026) Journal

      It works differently in Europe.

      In the US, it is the job of the DOJ to punish companies for breaking the law.

      In Europe it is job of the government to punish companies for being successful.

      --
      With modern TVs you don't have to worry about braking the yolk on the back of the picture tube.
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by rpnx on Friday February 03 2023, @03:09AM (4 children)

    by rpnx (13892) on Friday February 03 2023, @03:09AM (#1289973) Journal

    I will sue day 1 this legislation is enacted to block it. (I can even use Chat GPT to assist me with writing drafts!)

    TikTok may be a "bad thing", but what is worse is allowing the government to block free speech. I have every right to hear what the Chinese have to say, and the First Amendment protects the "Marketplace of Ideas" from governmental coercion. For that purpose, it is essential that all ideas, including capitalism and communism, have an equal place in the Marketplace of Ideas, to be judged by the voters. The legitimacy of the government arises from the people, not the other way around. If the people vote for communism, then the legitimate government is communist. If the "free market" government wants to sell capitalism, it must convince us voters that capitalism is better on a fair playing ground. That means we need to hear other viewpoints, like those of socialists and communists, and judge for ourselves which is better.

    On that note, the moment "national security" can be used to justify shutting down pure speech (i.e. TikTok), the United States will no longer have any claim be a free country.

    • (Score: 2, Troll) by mcgrew on Friday February 03 2023, @09:34PM (3 children)

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Friday February 03 2023, @09:34PM (#1290113) Homepage Journal

      How is blocking a foreign government's spy app blocking Americans' free speech? Fuck China. [mcgrew.info] Apologies for the grammar error in that article, maybe I should edit it..

      --
      mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
      • (Score: 2) by rpnx on Saturday February 04 2023, @08:21AM (2 children)

        by rpnx (13892) on Saturday February 04 2023, @08:21AM (#1290205) Journal

        Because it's not a spy apparatus, it's a data hoarding social media platform just like facebook/google/etc? And I also have every right to speak to Chinese people? Free Speech doesn't stop at the border.

        • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Saturday February 04 2023, @04:42PM (1 child)

          by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Saturday February 04 2023, @04:42PM (#1290258) Homepage Journal

          If facebook/google/etc were in fact required by US law to turn all data over to the US government, they would indeed be spy apparatuses. You are allowed to speak to the Chinese, but not to buy Hawaii equipment from him to put in our infrastructure, nor is it legal to tell him exactly what was in those documents Trump, Biden, and Pence took home.

          Orwell's Oceana was China in real life. [mcgrew.info] That link chronicles me meeting a bunch of Chinese right off the boat, and their horror at my opinion of Presiden Reagan, whose tax cuts for the rich unleashed an orgy of corporate takeovers that cost me a fourth of my income. TLDR version: They are terrified of our freedom and don't believe it really exists.

          --
          mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
          • (Score: 2) by rpnx on Saturday February 04 2023, @05:25PM

            by rpnx (13892) on Saturday February 04 2023, @05:25PM (#1290268) Journal

            I think you are forgetting that the Freedom of Speech applies to devices that transmit speech. Calling it "infrastructure" is a form of misdirection to try to justify unconstitutional restrictions. The government has no business regulating speech platforms based on economic concerns about China. There is currently no proof that TikTok has acted in any way different than Google. This is all deflection to try to justify the unjustifiable. Were the courts to accept your evil sophistry, they would be corrupt beyond recognition.

            Lets look at the facts in an objective light. Fact 1. The government has claimed that you have no expectation of privacy with regard to information you voluntarily share with third parties. Based on this, TikTok can hardly be considered "spying" because the users voluntarily share the information. There is no evidence that TikTok actually conducts any type of surveillance that is not already known to be conducted by entities like Google or Facebook. Even if we were to reject that premise it still doesn't follow that the information can't be sent to the party you voluntarily share it with.
            Fact 2. There's no actual evidence that TikTok is doing anything that services like Facebook or Google don't do. Many people have simply claimed without any evidence that TikTok could do such things because it is controlled by the Chinese government but there's no actual evidence that they have done it which is something that clearly the government would have access to if it wanted to find out. It's not like reverse engineering the bite code of an executable is impossible there's no technological reason why we wouldn't be able to figure out if TikTok is in fact doing some spying and I suspect that the government has already reversed engineered and analyzed it and found that it's not actually doing that so all they have to rely on is this fear mongering.
            Fact 3. US rivalry with China is primarily driven by protectionism of the US chip industry and the desire to stay on top of the world economic stage but has very little to do with military threats from China. China isn't a particularly militant nation and the only conflict that they might be reasonably expected to get involved thing would be the Taiwan dispute. But China isn't stupid enough to attack Taiwan at this moment.
            Fact 4. The trade war with China has been harming the US economic interests and we've suffered job losses and economic decline as a result of this trade war. COVID-19 has little to nothing to do with the problems that we've been experiencing at this point; all of the problems with shipping containers out of China being unreachable for American businesses, etc. Mostly it is a result of policies in China as well as the United states that restrict trade between our two countries. (And Donald Trump is the one who started this dumb Trade War.) A return to a more normal relationship between the US and China would be welcome by me as it would improve economic relations and improve the standard of living for everyone. There is some belief by Americans that somehow China has come to take our jobs; but even if China takes a certain portion of our jobs the cheaper prices that we pay for manufactured goods more than make up for it and that's why everything's getting more expensive. Yes, we have more jobs, but we can afford much less with the jobs we do have now. Overall, it's a net loss for us. The recent inflation is caused in large part by people paying American workers higher wages for the same products than they would if they were paying Chinese workers. COVID is not the cause, it's just a convenient scapegoat at this point. People's attitude didn't change that much, people are demanding higher wages because prices are rising, prices are rising because of governmental barriers to trade.
            Fact 5. Justifications to ban an app don't depend on if the App is made by a Chinese or American person. The government needs a compelling governmental purpose and in general requires proof. When freedom of speech is involved, the government has the burden of proof and can't just make flimsy excuses. The government will need to prove it's justifications in court. If "National Security" becomes an exception to the single core freedom at the heart of democracy (Freedom of Speech) then we will be the same as China restricting people's Free Speech in Hong Kong under grounds of "National Security". Free Speech "with National Security exception" is not Free Speech at all, because that is specifically the behavior that the First Amendment is designed to prevent. The Government claiming a security interest in regulating speech is the core playbook of how tyrants rule.
            Fact 6. Allowing China to distribute "propaganda" is a core function of the First Amendment. Propaganda is anything designed to affect your viewpoint, which is the core function of the Marketplace of Ideas. Saying some viewpoints are bad and must be silenced is counter to the core principles of Freedom of Speech. The principle of the Marketplace of Ideas is that people are exposed to both sides of each story, then decide for themselves which side is true. The fact there is some "misinformation" doesn't justify a crackdown on speech. The "Marketplace of Ideas" requires the opposing viewpoint to construct counter arguments to defeat Chinese propaganda. This is because in the "Marketplace of Ideas" the U.S. government's viewpoints don't hold a privileged position over others. And they cannot, because the power of the government is supposed to flow from the opinion of the voters, not the other way around. When the government regulates propaganda, it regulates the ideas shared by the people. Which is the reverse of how it's supposed to work. In the U.S. system, the ideas and opinions of the people are supposed to regulate the policy of the government, instead of the policy of the government regulating the ideas of the people. In order for this system to work, the ideas need to flow freely, and to ensure that bad governments can be replaced by, the government doesn't get to single out ideas as "bad".

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