The TikTok logo is displayed outside the offices of the TikTok social media app company on March 16, 2023 in Culver City, California.
Patrick T. Fallen | AFP | Getty Images
is on tiktok risk of being banned If Chinese parent ByteDance will not sell its stake in the US. The millions of Americans who use the popular video app are left wondering what this means for them.
Some fans of the service may turn to Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and try to connect to TikTok and get banned, a solution that can make it seem like their internet connection is in another country. coming from But taking advantage of that loophole may not be that easy.
This is not a problem yet, as there are still some ways to avoid the TikTok ban in the US or access it legally. The main points are being considered here.
What a ban or forced sale could look like
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) is an inter-agency body that evaluates national security concerns around the app to determine how to mitigate the risk if it continues to operate domestically. group can recommend President Joe Biden That ByteDance’s 2017 acquisition of Musical.ly, a TikTok precursor, could force the sale of those assets.
TikTok has recommended a mitigation plan as an alternative to forced sale. But this is already a long solution as CFIUS threatened to ban If ByteDance will not sell its stake.
A forced sale would be a complex move, requiring years of back-and-forth transactions. The Trump administration had followed this path once before, but to no avail. Chinese government will likely oppose it Again, but it will need to be careful in opposing it because the essence of its argument to the US is that TikTok operates independently.
“It will be part of the calculus and how aggressively China would like to respond,” said Lindsey Gorman, a senior fellow for emerging technologies at the German Marshall Fund Alliance for Securing Democracy. Gormany previously served as a senior adviser in the Biden White House.
Should the US ban TikTok, the mechanics on what happens from there are unclear. Oracle Is cloud hosting service For all use of US Internet Service Providers such as TikTok comcast (parent company of NBC Universal) and Verizon Direct traffic to end users. and controlled by the App Store Apple And Google are the primary places for consumers to download the TikTok app.
shannon reevesA partner in Strock’s CFIUS compliance group said the need for a third party would not come from CFIUS alone, which is tasked with evaluating foreign investments.
“This review will not result in any action by CFIUS that will be taken against third parties that are not part of this transaction,” Reeves said. “So your Apples and your Googles and so forth, that won’t happen.”
The government may have to turn to legislation or executive orders to block app distributors, ISPs and cloud services from accessing TikTok.
While there will always be the possibility of loopholes that can be exploited by a subset of computer literate users, the typical consumer will find it difficult to access a government-restricted service, said Douglas SchmidtAn engineering professor at Vanderbilt.
“There will always be ways around it,” Schmidt said. “It would be very, very difficult for the average person to do without getting an advanced degree in computer security or something.”
In other words, a VPN won’t suffice, as going that route would still require App Store credentials, which would indicate the user’s location. NordVPN vice president Gerald Kasulis said the technology is also available to detect whether a user is trying to use the app with a VPN.
The concerns about the security risk of TikTok come down to two main issues. The first is who can access US consumer information and the second is who has the ability to determine what information reaches US users. Under Chinese law, companies may Requiring the government to hand over internal information for alleged national security purposes,
TikTok has sought to assure the US government that US user data is stored outside China. The company developed a detailed plan known as Project Texas that included a revision of its code in the US and a separate board of directors for the domestic subsidiary, with members reviewed by the US government.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, who is set to testify before a US House panel next week, told wall street journal That Project Texas would do as much as divestment to address any security concerns.
But the mood in Washington is not in favor of TikTok, and legislators have lost whatever trust they once had in China and its intentions. The issue came to the fore again earlier this year, when a suspected Chinese spy balloon was spotted flying over a large entourage of US Biden, who ordered the military shoot the balloon last month.
When it comes to consumer technology, users have no idea what information is reaching the Chinese government. And the US government has a lot of work to do in providing clarity on what will happen if the app is banned.
“It’s not easy to sort through and separate all of these apps, even for someone who’s studied this stuff,” Gorman said. “As a society, we haven’t decided whether the App Store, Apple App Store or Google Play Store, should ban apps based on the amount of information they collect. It can’t be put on an individual and it really needs to be addressed by governments.”
While many users might think their casual social media use would be of little interest to a foreign government, Schmidt said the data could have surprising value to bad actors.
“Having information about your habits and your interests and your interactions and where you go and what you do can be used either for things like phishing attacks to get more information, or for things like blackmail.” For things, if you’re doing things you’re doing, other people might not know about it,” Schmidt said.
This is unfamiliar territory for US companies, unlike China, which blocks access to all types of content, including most major US Internet services.
“Trying to access police data is very difficult, especially when there is a suspicion that the people doing it have a reason for doing so,” Schmidt said. “And they are highly encouraged to collect this information and use it for all kinds of purposes.”
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