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TikTok ban – ByteDance sues US to kill Bill

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The Supreme Court will “likely” decide whether the new law is constitutional – or even practical.

The Chinese owner of TikTok is suing the government to overturn last month's law that effectively bans the app. ByteDance says so Act to Protect Americans from Applications Controlled by Foreign Adversaries (PAFACA) is unconstitutional and the proposed remedies are impractical.

It is also said that the USA did not stick to its agreement. There is a page for you in today's SB Blogwatch.

Your humble blog watcher has put together these blog pieces for your entertainment. Not to mention: What if?

PAFACA SueTok

What is the Craic? The Gray Lady's Sapna Maheshwari and David McCabe report: TikTok sues US government over law forcing sale or ban

Simply not possible
The social media company and its Chinese parent company [are] They are igniting a battle over national security and free speech that will likely end up in the Supreme Court. … TikTok pointed to the billions of dollars it has already spent to address potential security risks, … a project called Project Texas, as well as a draft 90-page national security agreement that made “extraordinary” commitments to the U.S. government.

TikTok said…National security concerns…were “speculative” and not sufficient to justify violating First Amendment rights:…The law violated the First Amendment by effectively removing an app that millions of Americans use to…freely to communicate. It also argued that a divestment was “simply not possible”.

Remind me? The Pink'Un's Hannah Murphy tells us: TikTok challenges “extreme” US divestment or ban law

Donald Trump
Last month, Washington passed a law requiring TikTok to separate from its parent company by January 19, 2025 or face a nationwide ban. Concerns were raised that the Chinese Communist Party could use data about the app's 170 apps [million] US users for espionage purposes or to spread propaganda. … Congress moved with unusual speed to pass the TikTok law, particularly after its members received classified briefings from security officials raising national security concerns. The bill passed despite aggressive lobbying efforts by TikTok that galvanized its own users.

TikTok said in the petition [that] the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States…had stopped meaningful cooperation with the platform in August 2022, while “Congress cast aside this tailored agreement in favor of the politically expedient and punitive approach.”…TikTok successfully sued the US government in 2020 , when then-President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning the app.

Who is right? Aurich sounds contradictory:

I think you can have big problems with TikTok, social media and China and still feel like you don't like the US approach. … I am deeply uncomfortable with the implications. A lot of the defense seems to be “but China,” but a government’s effective suppression of foreign media can have some really ugly sides. I think of Israel and Al Jazeera.

When it comes to data, why don't we adopt strict data protection laws? … To be honest, it's also pretty bad that Elon Musk … and Mark Zuckerburg have our data – and everyone they sell our data to.

Ah, the mythical US GDPR. This anonymous coward sounds light cynical:

That would just be going too far! You would never get that consumer Protection in the USA!

Could we please make an “unconstitutional, slippery” argument? Impossiblefork fears tyranny:

I really can't imagine why people couldn't choose TikTok. It would have to be the strangest verdict in the world.

[The bill] is a few steps too far in my opinion. A lot of concessions are made for safety reasons, but I'm not sure if this is actually justified by actual safety concerns. …If they actually go for the government, I can't imagine that it won't basically mess up all of U.S. law. Basically: If that works, then anything is possible.

However, redmid17 reminds us that we've been here before:

Yawning. [It’s] not even unprecedented: …the mere suggestion of a Senate committee can force a platform sale: Grindr.

My advice is: suck it up, Buttercup. …Enjoy the billions you make from damn dance videos and misinformation so damn stupid it makes flat-earthers look reasonable.

Is there a danger of being too provincial? Gran Torino has the view from Asia:

I [am] Singaporeans… from the same country as the TikTok CEO. … I completely understand the US decision to require ByteDance to either divest or exit TikTok.

Many supposedly “private” companies in China are not truly independent. [President] Xi also called on state-owned enterprises to “implement the Party’s will.” The draconian legislation in the form of a counter-espionage law and a national security law also gives Beijing extensive control over companies.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, social media in Singapore has been flooded with disinformation accusing the US of inventing the virus as a bioweapon. These were clearly part of an influence operation. A similar trend of blaming “US aggression” was also seen when the Ukraine war broke out in 2022. More recently, TikTok algorithms appear to highlight anti-American and anti-Israel content to incite Singapore's Malay-Muslim community.

Ālea iacta est. Dioptase explains:

ByteDance made a mistake when they used the platform to encourage users to contact Congress to protest proposed legislation. There is already a precedent for preventing foreign media ownership, in theory to prevent manipulation of the American public. ByteDance has shown that it is not just theory.

In the meantime, Orangecat gets to the point:

They lied about storing data in China and spied on journalists. [And] Giving the Chinese Communist Party access to vast amounts of personal information about hundreds of millions of Americans is crazy.

And finally:

Don't try this at home

Previously in And finally

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