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Tom Hazlett speaks out about TikTok ban

by xyonent
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In my opinion, the best writer on economics today is Tom Hazlett. He has a great way with words. And good writing always requires good thinking.

Tom has recently recent posts As for the TikTok ban, it was so good that I didn’t want to post it as one of the many articles I’ll be posting every Sunday.

he wrote:

And President Joe Biden signed The Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act of 2024, which requires China-based company ByteDance to spin off TikTok or watch it get banned. Separating the company from the app would likely solve the problem. other Problems with TikTok are often traced to TikTok, a circle that links US users’ personal data to the Chinese Communist Party. TikTok claims it has already closed the loop because US users’ data is stored at Oracle in Texas. That’s as believable as an episode of TikTok’s Baby Talk, Congress counters.

If Congress knew who the Communists were, Tell me! The 2000s Homeland Security Threat Assessment color chart is tan, rested, and ready. However, it is true that companies are shutting down because of mere rumors. teeth Ugly import from China.


TikTok’s opponents should report actual deception and breaches of trust, rather than shouting about potential threats. If a criminal offense, such as misappropriating user data, is a crime, then such misconduct should be prosecuted by authorities. But here national security experts have often been reckless.

The New York Times Reporter David Sanger, The perfect weapon (2018) provides some startling background. Around the summer of 2014, US intelligence agencies discovered that a large nation-state actor, which officials presume to be China, had hacked into US-based servers and stolen the data of 22 million current and former US government employees. Over 4 million of these victims lost highly personal information, including social security numbers, medical records, fingerprints, and security background checks. The US databases were not encrypted. This was such a sensational flaw that when the theft was finally discovered, it was discovered that the existing data had (curiously) been encrypted. This was an upgrade that the hackers had conscientiously implemented to carry out the theft with stealth.

Here’s the culprit. Sanger reports that “the administration has never matched the 22 million Americans who lost their data, except by accident.” Victims were only notified that “some of their information may have been lost” and offered a credit monitoring subscription. This was a bit of a ploy in itself. The lifted data was not sold on the dark web, so the hack was identified as a hostile intelligence operation.

I was one of those 22 million people. I remember very well the letter I received from the US government regarding Anojin. More details in the afterword.

Which makes me wonder: Who is the bigger threat to Americans’ privacy, the Chinese government or the US government? There are limits to what the Chinese government can do with stolen personal data. Since the US government is here, they have broader restrictions.

Hezlett concluded:

U.S. authorities are stirring up the possibility of a leak that tramples free speech while silencing the American public about the actual leak. Banning TikTok is fool’s gold. The First Amendment is pure genius. Let’s keep one of them.

On the issue of the First Amendment, it was striking that Senator Mitt Romney wants to ban TikTok. because He wants to limit freedom of speech.

The following is report in New Republic.

“I mean, Israelis are generally good at PR. What happened here? Why have they, and we, been so ineffective in communicating the reality on the ground and our perspective?” Romney Asked Blinken doesn’t seem to believe that footage of Israel’s indiscriminate bombing of Gaza is causing outrage in the United States.

Romney then said the TikTok ban was overwhelmingly passed it The app has widespread support for Palestinian rights and has won support in both houses of parliament.

“Some wonder why there was such overwhelming support for potentially shutting down TikTok and groups of that nature. Compared to posts on TikTok and other social media sites. “If you look at the number of references to Palestinians in TikTok broadcasts, that’s by far the most. So that’s really interesting and it gives the president an opportunity to take action on that.” said.

Politicians are often keen to attribute their own motives to others, and we don’t know if the one Romney outlined above was his primary motivation for voting against TikTok, but the context makes it clear that this was his motivation.

P.S. I I wrote about this issue August 2020. Here is an excerpt at the end.

What about the third objection to trade with China, that China can use various apps to monitor Americans? Again, the other two objections to trade with China As in, this is true. But it’s hard to see how that matters with TikTok, the latest major case of such surveillance. One August discussionHoover economist John Cochran challenged Hoover historian Niall Ferguson and Hoover national security expert HR McMaster both backed up the view that TikTok is dangerous to Americans. Ferguson argued that TikTok is addictive to young people, just like computer games, which is true, but it has nothing to do with China.

McMaster claimed that TikTok collects data on Americans, especially young people. I believe that’s true, just as Facebook and Instagram do the same for a range of users. But does this cause significant harm to Americans? Julian Sanchez of the Cato Institute said: I wrote recently:

While it’s easy to imagine how this information might be misused by governments interested in surveilling their citizens, it’s hard to articulate a coherent reason why Midwestern teenagers who post cat videos should fear that Maoists are scrutinizing their system settings and geotags.

Many people are tolerant of young women’s dance performances. As we learned When a video of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dancing while she was a student at Boston University leaked, I thought she was an amazing dancer.

HR McMaster claimed that the Chinese government wanted to “weaponize data”. That’s probably true. But how exactly can we weaponize data about, say, young women dancing? Interestingly, he cited the Chinese government’s hacking of millions of federal employees’ sensitive data several years ago as an example of the Chinese government collecting data that could harm Americans. was Severe. But notice they did it without a deal. [DRH additional note: and without TikTok.] Additionally, the lack of security provided by the U.S. federal government made hacking easier than it otherwise would have been. In 2015, I was a U.S. federal employee When the hack happens And then Beth F. Covert, the Deputy Director of the Office of Personnel Management, wrote me a letter informing me that my data had been hacked. Here is an excerpt from her letter:

Because you have applied for a job or submitted a background check form, the information contained in our records may include your name, social security number, address, date and place of birth, place of residence, education history, employment history, personal international travel history, information about the personal of next of kin, business acquaintances, personal acquaintances, and other information used to conduct and determine the background check.

She added, “Our records indicate that your fingerprints may have been compromised during the cyber intrusion.”

I distinctly remember that the hacked form I filled out the previous year asked me if I had had an affair in the past seven years. You see, this was important because the U.S. government needed to know if I could be blackmailed. Luckily, my answer was “no,” but it’s interesting to note that the U.S. government is making it easier for the Chinese government to blackmail federal employees who answer “yes.”

It’s that kind of data I want the federal government to protect, not photos of young girls dancing.

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