Government agencies have 30 days to purge devices of Tik Tok

Originally published at: Government agencies have 30 days to purge devices of Tik Tok | Boing Boing


Canada has done the same. Can’t say I think it’s a bad idea, given that it seems pretty established at this point that at best TikTok is a Chinese state data mining front, and at worst is full-on spyware.


So… when Google and Meta sell your data to whomever has the money it’s fine and dandy? This is such a farce of security theater and exercise in controlling information.


Would be nice to just ban data mining and commoditization of all our choices, but I guess that would interfere with the profit-donation-reelection wheel.


While predictable; it’s morbidly entertaining to see the operators of perhaps the most insular consumer tech market outside of obscure pariah states suddenly getting real concerned about the principles of market economy and fair competition, an open, fair and non-discriminatory environment for foreign companies; and ‘censoring the voices of millions of Americans’.


“It’s a spy balloon into their phone.”

Is that a spy balloon in your pocket…?


I mean, pretty much all social media shouldn’t be on federal devices, unless you are tasked with making updates in an official capacity.

I am a bit surprised they don’t lock them down more, where they only allow approved software to be installed.


On a government phone… sure there’s a lot of things that have no business being on there, including “domestic” apps like Facebook. It minimizes risk on a phone that’s already gone through hardware vetting, etc.

So yes, not a bad idea but obviously the reasoning behind it is clearly propaganda and misses the actual security point.


Banning a Chinese-owned app from government employee devices isn’t a bad idea. The problem remains, as we’ve noted countless times, that this isn’t actually fixing the underlying issue. Namely, our repeated failures on consumer protection, our failure to meaningful regulate the unaccountable data broker market, and our corruption-fueled failure to pass even basic privacy legislation for the internet era.

To hear the TikTok hyperbolics tell it, they’re taking meaningful steps to protect consumer privacy and national security:

“The Biden-Harris Administration has invested heavily in defending our nation’s digital infrastructure and curbing foreign adversaries’ access to Americans’ data,” Chris DeRusha, federal chief information security officer, said. “This guidance is part of the Administration’s ongoing commitment to securing our digital infrastructure and protecting the American people’s security and privacy.”

This may surprise some folks, but you’re not actually protecting the American people’s security and privacy by hyperventilating about a single app.

Yes, TikTok plays fast and loose with consumer data. So does nearly every other foreign and domestic app and service on your phone, from apps that track and monetize your every waking movement in granular detail, to apps and services that casually traffic in your mental health specifics. And that’s before you get to the telecom industry, which has pioneered irresponsible collection and monetization of user info.

All of this data is fed into a massive and intentionally confusing data broker market that regulators have been generally disinterested in seriously policing, lest U.S. companies (gasp) lose money. We don’t want to pass a modern internet privacy law, or be tough on data brokers, app makers, OEMs, or telecoms, because rampant surveillance and data monetization is simply too lucrative.

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Plus, I wouldn’t trust a workphone not to be snooping on personal use.


I’ve had a few cases of people outright admitting that they did something foolish and risky on work hardware because IT wouldn’t be there to pick up the pieces if doing that went wrong on their personal system.

This struck me as a weird thing to admit to IT; but there were are.


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