Government is trying to ban TikTok again... EFF is actually against it

Posted on Thursday, Mar 23, 2023 by Chris Hayner

Featured in this episode of Chaos Lever

Ok, so. First thing. It was only after I wrote like 2,000 words on this topic that I realized, completely on my own, that literally every single thing we have a problem with regarding TikTok has been well known for years. So you’re welcome.

I just saved us all 25-30 bloviating and repetitive minutes. Long story short, TikTok is a political football, and it’s social media in general, and online advertising in particular, that are the real enemy when it comes to security.

Look.. sure. We can at this point agree that TikTok is, as the kids say, extremely sus. Their product is flaky and insecure, their algorithm is demonstrably manipulated for political ends, and using it at all is bad for everyone’s mental health. But guess what? So is every other kind of social media.

Just because TikTok is the king of shit mountain doesn’t make any of the other shit boulders any better. The EFF is rolling their eyes pretty hard at the notion that TikTok has been proven to be the harbinger of the apocalypse that DC is making it out to be.

The EFF makes the extremely prescient point that the real crime is the idea that “data broker” is even allowed to be an industry. Let me close by quoting the entire last paragraph in the EFF’s breakdown, because it sums things up far better than I just did:

“If China wanted to buy this data, it could probably find a way to do so. Banning TikTok from operating here probably would not stop China from acquiring the location data of people here. The better approach is to limit how all businesses here collect personal data. This would reduce the supply of data that any adversary might obtain.”