‘Untrusted’ Chinese apps like TikTok and WeChat must be banned from U.S. app stores, says Pompeo promoting 'Clean Network'

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/08/05/untrusted-chinese-apps-l.html


Good luck with all that, Jack.


From a security point of view, youbshould never install spyware.

About 90% of all apps on the default google play appstore qualify as spyware in that they send back telemetry data from lots of pieces of your phone they have no business with.

The chinese spyware like tiktok are just particularly egregious.


Yes, we certainly don’t want untrustworthy code written in China to run on our untrustworthy devices manufactured in China.


Unfortunately for us, there isn’t enough trustworthy software available to get most contemporary devices out of the bootloader(or even to the bootloader, as the visible OS understands it, with all the peripheral firmware and basebands and management engines and such).

I’d be delighted if I thought that Mike here were actually interested in the real problem, rather than just who has access to the output of the panopticon hellscape.


How about all the American apps that are threats to personal data of American citizens?


Yup. TOS is a bitch. Agreeing to 300-500 pages of legalese describing how Google can do anything it wants to and with you and your data and that you agree to let them change the terms of the contract unilaterally without notice or recourse forever, just to get at your own backed up photos, is a small price to pay for american freedom.


My husband and I were in China over western New Year and were unprepared for how cashless/app-based the society has become. Only hotels and extremely touristy restaurants take credit cards any more, at least from western banks. Everything else from food stalls to high speed rail tellers take app payments, either WeChat or AliPay. We even saw a busker with a cardboard stand-up QR code. Eliminate those from our app stores and be prepared to withdraw a ton of cash if visiting China. Or get the app while in the country, but setting up the foreign bank/credit card link didn’t seem trivial.


Also we don’t want to be supporting tools for Chinese Communist Party content censorship - we’ll censor them, instead!


Oh for heaven’s sake Trump’s trying to apps shut from other country’s app stores. I do business in China, WeChat is a required business tool, if I have to choose between Facebook and WeChat Facebook has to go

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More like, we’ll censor ourselves. Just looking at how google and microsoft and the NBA and Disney are willing to bend over backwards, crawl on their knees and lick boot to have access to chinese markets.

“oh you don’t like that there’s a gay character in the movie? Yes we’ll absolutely erase them out even if that makes the movie stop making sense.”


“Don’t install foreign apps that spy on you!” screams the government that wants to build a back door into all encryption so it can spy on you.


USA decides to cleanse local networks of anything Chinese under new five-point national data security plan

One last thing: Pompeo’s Tweet embedded above mentions a five-point plan but then lists a sixth - “Clean Path” - that has not been explained.


That’s a pretty big ‘if’, if you ask me.


Well now you’re just asking for photos.


People will get around whatever obstacles they throw up…

Also, how is this any different that an authoritarian country locking down “their” internet?

That’s different… they’re American, so they are a-okay! /s

To be fair, when Sailor Moon originally aired in the US, the lesbians became cousins… :woman_shrugging: We censor shit, too.

I’ve always wanted to go to China…


I’m amused that they want a “Clean Network” when the next article is


No, I wasn’t doubting your visit. I was suggesting anyone who does not absolutely have to, probably won’t be wanting to travel to China for the foreseeable future. I had to go on business a decade or more ago, and also have the pics to prove it. But I would not travel there now privately under any circumstances.


It sucks when there’s a kernel of a fair point buried in a shitty take made by shitty people for shitty reasons.

Because it is definitely plausible that Pompeo & Trump et al are just racist fearmongering and/or pissed about TikTok trolling, while at the same time state-sponsored spyware might be a bit of a concern.

(And to the address the inevitable whataboutism, yes, of course it’s also a problem when Facebook/Google/NSA spies on us. It’s not an either/or.)


China is a great place to visit and has lots to admire. But for everyone playing whataboutism, there are serious differences. I’ve spent a good chunk of the last 10 years there and the place continues to make me appreciate the US, despite all its flaws.

US government spying? Imagine that you have to register with a photograph of yourself for any internet connection, all of your traffic is monitored, and apps automatically route copies of your communications though government servers. I’ve watched as private comments are scrubbed from conversations in realtime. By comparison, Boingboing would be banned and most of us investigated and more than a few arrested for anti-government writting.

Want to move in the USA? Sure, go anywhere. In China, you are tied to your home province. Go elsewhere for work or personal reasons, you can’t get healthcare, send your kids to school, etc. It has a lot of parallels to being an illegal alien in the USA.

Wealth inequity? China has done a great job of leveraging capitalism to pull vast numbers out of poverty. Extreme poverty on a scale unseen in the USA for generations is still very widespread. But even the middle class doesn’t earn much, but has housing expenses that would rival living in NYC.

Pollution? It’s better. I no longer have to sweep daily to get rid of the coal dust everywhere. But it’s still the equivalent of smoking a pack or two a day.

Infrastructure is newer … but crumbling. Buildings and roads look decades older than they are. Sidewalks look like 50 year old torn up messes. Any bathroom more than 3 years old has corroded fixtures.

Racism is overt and shocking. We aren’t sinless, but we at least recognize we are sinners and want to end racism (admittedly, we disagree on how much or how to solve). From comments to how people are treated to actual government policy, it’s just accepted there as the natural order of things.

And so on.

China is far better off than it was a few decades ago. But be very careful comparing the US to China. Especially when it comes to the government. Don’t take what we have for granted. If anything, they are an example of how bad things can get and why we have to work hard to protect what we have and fight tyranny.