TikTok Ban Bill Is Patriot Act 2.0 Trojan Horse [video]
This is a bipartisan bill and supported by the White House.
It's Patriot Act Version 2. Everything they wanted in version 1 and couldn't get, they are putting in here.
It does not contain the word TikTok. It applies to "desktop applications", "mobile applications", "gaming applications", "payment applications", "web-based applications" and everything connected to the Internet that serves >1M users within a year time period.
Fines up to $1M and 20 years in prison. It also uses civil forfeiture and makes it illegal to properly run a VPN.
This has bipartisan support.
Of course it doesn't contain the word TikTok. Legislation can't single out an individual company or person, it wouldn't pass legal muster. So you write it in general terms, and ta-da! The ban hammer that you wanted to apply to TikTok is now a general purpose tool for destroying civil liberties!
This reminds of the joke about how the ethical programmer cannot write a function to nuke a particular city, instead they write a function that takes the city as a parameter.
> It should be noted that no ethically-trained software engineer would ever consent to write a DestroyBaghdad procedure. Basic professional ethics would instead require him to write a DestroyCity procedure, to which Baghdad could be given as a parameter.
I did some searching, and I believe that a footnote in this article, by Nathaniel S. Borenstein, is the origin of that quote.
I read an interesting article on the Russians programming the cruise missiles that fall on Ukraine. They're former game and software developers drafted into the military.
Yeah read up on where the B in cyclon B came from.
Can you tell us? From my googling it just says B was the second version
What I heard, and I’m sorry I’m too lazy to further substantiate, was that the original revision had a potent smell or something, so that it could be detected by humans with the basic idea being it wasn’t expected to be used on humans by those that developed it. It was a simple matter then for bad people to remove this smelly element and bump the version number.
That seems to be an urban legend. Zyklon B had a distinct smell of bitter almonds but a fraction of people can't perceive it. It also contained an irritant to avoid accidental inhalation. The death from suffocation was also slow and painful. Zyklon B was simply the second version of the product, which was intended as a delousing agent. Zyklon A was apparently less stable. One of the changes in Zyklon B seems to be that the gas was released from pellets, making it safer to use. Zyklon C apparently caused discoloration on metal, making it less useful for delousing. There also seem to have been variants D through F.
There's nothing nefarious about Zyklon B itself. It was simply found to be a very cheap way to kill a lot of people because prussic acid is apparently an order of magnitude more toxic to vertebrates than to insects. Of course at a certain point the company that produced it knew what it was being used for, but that doesn't seem to have influenced the development of the product itself.
To be clear: the reason the smell was irrelevant is that by the time you could smell it, you were already locked in a room with other people. The victims tried to tear down the walls and break the door with their bare hands, climbing over each other fearing for their lives as they slowly and painfully suffocated because every cell in their lungs sealed shut. You can still see the marks in those walls to this day.
There was no need to hide what the gas was doing. The victims were unarmed, they were surrounded by armed guards behind bars and barbed wire. They would often be sent directly to the "showers" upon their arrival at the camps, especially if they were children or too old to work. Even if they could have disarmed one of the guards they wouldn't have had anywhere to escape to. Even if they had somehow made it to the border, no country would have taken them.
I don’t think anyone would debate the futility of the situation the victims found themselves in. I guess the main thrust of this “urban myth” is that the people that developed it didn’t realise the intent. You’re obviously far better read on this topic than I so I will defer to your assertion that they did.
EDIT I remember my source it was that news show with the English guy .. John Oliver … he was doing a special on how brutal death by lethal injection was. That it wasn’t humane and it wasn’t developed scientifically because you could never get medical scientists to develop such a thing, and he drew parallels to cyclon B. He could well have been perpetuating that myth or his researchers could have been.
It's possible. I can't find any sources claiming Zyklon A was ever used in this way prior to Zyklon B and the first "test" killings of POWs seems to have used Zyklon B. Most sources don't explain the differences between the various versions though, if they mention them at all.
As I understand it, lethal injections are designed in such a way to paralyze the victim but the actual process is actually quite grueling, the victim just loses the ability to indicate the level of distress and pain they are in. This is unlike the euthanasia vets typically administer, which start with a sedative so the animal is unconscious, which seems not to be desired for executions.
So I guess there are parallels, the Zyklon B story just doesn't serve as a contrast but rather another example: it was designed as a delousing agent but its ease of use, storage ability and relative safety enabled the industrial scale mass murder even if none of the engineers would have agreed to that. Of course to the company producing it, it was just another big government contract.
Just did. It was the second variant of the poison, nothing to do with people, ethnicities or locations. Just a revision character.
I am curious how big tech will stand on this issue: they lobbied for it hard because they wanted to get rid of a competitor under allegedly illegitimate state control; as a result of their effort, they will all be forced under more or less legitimate state control.
It can be very helpful to them as a form of regulatory capture, kicking the ladder down.
It's why Walmart and Amazon were the biggest corporate supporters of raising minimum wage and getting stricter on Internet sales tax.
They're already under state control.
They get an insane amounts of data requests from governments on a daily basis.
It's not clear to me this is worse than not being under state control.
I mean - our government sucks - but it is our government. Law and order is nice. Ideally the laws wouldn't be terrible.
It shouldn't be up to companies to make their own rules - even if our government sucks.
Pretty sure Zuckerberg loves this. He probably spent a lot of $$$ lobbying for this.
I’m assuming this is and will be a classic example of the “First they came for….” Quote where it goes through the list of ‘others’ that is not oneself then, at the end when the authority finally shows up to take the ‘you’ in the ‘oneself’, no one is left to defend you and thus you also go down.
They will aim to eliminate tiktok as, everyone in the us higher ups agree it has to go, but who will be next afterwards? If in the future, Facebook doesn’t bend its knee to shovel out state propaganda, will it too go?
The very scary part of the bill, if true, is the outright banning of VPNs.
As a Finn, I’m not too worried about myself right now, but should USA fall into a complete Surveillance State with monitoring and it’s own version of China’s Social Credit system, it will have huge ramifications on EU and probably my country Finland.
Large companies generally welcome strict regulation. While it will increase their cost of doing business, more importantly, it'll stifle competition.
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In the state of WI, when they wanted to single out Milwaukee, but try to not name names, they would write laws, counties with a population >500k must…..
Worked great for years, until Madison really started booming…
Foreign boogie men still rule the day in America’s self-owns.
"Legal muster" be damned, in the US such a law would probably be considered attainder and be unconstitutional, though there are exemptions.
> Of course it doesn't contain the word TikTok. Legislation can't single out an individual company or person
But sanctions can, and they don’t even need legislation. If the goal was to ban TikTok, Biden could do that all by himself by sanctioning away their access to app stores, ad revenue, and probably a lot of the rest of their supply chain as well. That’s what Trump originally said he was going to do when he announced he was going to ban TikTok.
Ironically, in regards to TikTok, one effect (and this may be intended) of this legislation may be to give the Administration more flexibility to unilaterally, without negotiation, impose controls short of a ban or forced divestment than are currently available in US law.
The US wants to be more like China and the Soviet Union.
My first hint was Snowden.
The Snowden affair was the first time I've seen the mainstream news outlets do a complete 180 on its coverage in the span of hours.
Initially, the serious (non Fox News) outlets were concerned about the overreach by the government and seemed supportive of the leaks. By afternoon, they were all attacking Greenwald, Poitras, and Snowden on national security grounds.
Greenwald has gone pretty nuts on his own since then.
Unpopular opinion here: I think Snowden rightfully got people to pay more attention to cryptography, and that's good, but I always thought there was something about his story that didn't add up. Defecting to Moscow is shitty, too, especially considering what happened later.
You've forgotten what really happened. He was trying to get to Ecuador when the USA revoked his passport. He got stuck at the airport in Moscow as a consequence and was kept there for a long time because the Russians didn't want him either. That's not a defection.
Defecting to Moscow? I know he lives there but what leads you to believe he's defected to Russia? Is there any evidence that this has happened?
His life exists at the whims of putin, who isn't exactly known for giving people freedom to express controversial ideals.
It's not Snowden's fault he is in Russia, but it's important to not be blind to the reality of the situation. We should have protected him as a wistleblower but "even" obama seemed willing to throw him to the wolves. The fact we didn't burn down the capitol when they revoked his passport means we are all culpable in this. Nothing will get better unless we take responsibility for the government we have allowed to fester, and unless we band together and march together, this will continue.
> We should have protected him as a wistleblower but "even" obama seemed willing to throw him to the wolves.
Here's another possible interpretation of this. Why didn't the Obama Administration show him leniency? eg. They commuted Chelsea Manning's sentence and released her early. Why not similar for Snowden? Is it possible that they knew something about him that the rest of us do not?
How much do you know about Russia?
A high profile political-ish person cannot live there without interference from government. You are naive on the subject or deliberately lying if you do not believe that is true. Information on this is easily accessible to you. Especially after Ukraine, when there's so many stories of prominent Russians being labelled "foreign agents" by their government for merely having opinions.
It is not an exaggeration to say it's like Nazi Germany there now. Even well before, they were doing political assassinations at home and abroad and false flags in Chechnya. Snowden and Greenwald both are clearly on the wrong side of that issue. It was clear even in 2013 if you were paying attention that Putin's Russia was less free than the United States. So it's a very, very strange thing to do to move there after being concerned about civil liberties.
Snowden didn't move to Russia; he got stuck there, accidentally, because he happened to be transiting through the Moscow airport on his way to Ecuador at the moment the US revoked his passport. He proceeded to spend over a month living in the airport, still trying to leave, before giving up and applying for asylum in Russia. He's not there because he wants to be, but because his only other choice is a US prison.
Snowden cannot live anywhere else. He tried. The arms of the US government are too long, and he is prevented by the US from leaving Russia. Sure, there is going to be interference, but he doesn't have a choice. It's either that or be kidnapped.
Agreed. Greenwald has jumped the shark. To be fair, Snowden didn't have many choices.
None of those had the surveillance of its citizens that the US does though. Maybe including some “tech inflation” Stasi of DDR might be up there but neither USSR nor PRC has/had anything as massive as the US.
The PRC has a lot more CCTV, slightly less per capacita, but that's irrelevant if you account for density. They also have a lot more means to aggregate information at the municipal level and turn it into actionables, and they do so pretty openly. Meanwhile US cities and police departments are still in love with a glorified spreadsheet provider.
Not that I'm advocating for any of this, but saying the PRC has less, or even substantially less surveilance than the US is a pretty laughable proposition.
This is completely false. China requires that all service providers automatically decrypt all of their data for all users for the PRC, and the Great Firewall surveils and controls the vast majority of network traffic in China. The US has nothing remotely comparable to either of these things.
You either don't know much about China, or don't know much about the US.
Snowden sounded like US got access to your data regardless of TLS.
Most of the information required to compare is not public, maybe China got a better equipment and funding than USA... but even if that's the case, it's not like China is the baseline and everything is great as long as we think we are better treated.
> Snowden sounded like US got access to your data regardless of TLS.
Still not relevant. Covert exploitation of cryptographic weaknesses that can be easily patched leading to a limited set of data whose use is constrained by well-defined legal processes (involving warrants and courts) is categorically different than "the state forces you to decrypt and hand them all of your data". They're not remotely comparable.
> it's not like China is the baseline and everything is great as long as we think we are better treated
Nobody is saying that.
PRISM is literally the state forcing you to decrypt and hand over data.
I'm sure the CCP has their own potemkin legal system - the FISA courts are smoke and dressing just the same.
Please read my comment again.
> limited set of data whose use is constrained by well-defined legal processes (involving warrants and courts) is categorically different than "the state forces you to decrypt and hand them all of your data".
This still describes the difference between PRISM and the CCP's system.
It doesn't matter if "the CCP has their own potemkin legal system" - the fact is that the NSA only (allegedly) takes a very small set of records and providers get to see every one of them, where's the CCP's system takes literally everything.
Plus, we can look at the massive differences between the CCP and the US in every other way - the Great Firewall's real-time monitoring and censorship of all communication in the country, for instance, as well as the total lack of constitutional rights to privacy that the Chinese people have - and pretty reasonably conclude that the FISA courts are going to be more rigorous than whatever China has.
PRISM was WILLFULL cooperation with the feds by private companies. Other things snowden revealed made it clear the the feds were ALSO snooping inside the companies, and famously google encrypted their internal links and infra to stop it. Funny how they understand the importance of privacy, just not for you.
The Stasi kept files on about 5.6 million people. The Stasi had 90,000 full-time employees who were assisted by 170,000 full-time unofficial collaborators (Inoffizielle Mitarbeiter); together these made up 1 in 63 (nearly 2%) of the entire East German population.
Looks like Stasi were small peanuts compared to U.S. security agencies - which also have supercomputing at their fingers.
> PRC anything as massive as the US
Really? I assume domestically China engages in surveillance on a much higher scale than the US.
It absolutely does. Ten seconds of reading the Wikipedia page on the Great Firewall will show you that GP has absolutely no idea what they're talking about.
US not only have systems in place at home it also gathers data in other countries (UK, DK, DE, etc.) on US citizens. PRC has nothing like this that has been discovered so far.
Stalin wanted it so much, he even had entire research institute dedicated to automatic voice recognition problem, staffed with jailed engineers, and utilizing vacuum tubes electronics (Solzhenitsyn, In the First Circle).
Level playing field.
Soviet Union, China and Russia copied the US. They just didn't copy the "freedom" idea. They mostly didn't do it because they didn't have to... so they were very lucky. With modern technology, ordinary people got too powerful and it would be very easy to find out that the state is outright lying to them about how their own country works and they wouldn't be too happy about it. As a result, Chinese and Russians peasants are pretty satisfied with their leadership because the state doesn't have to engage in lying too much. They can tell the truth about the enemy once in a while and that is mostly enough.
If one of them was a superpower though, it would be a different story. They would have to engage in a lot of deception and with modern technology, people would find out that their leaders are full of it. Not that it is a problem, the peasants do eventually cope with reality... but it's just that it doesn't work very smoothly all the time.
> Soviet Union, China and Russia copied the US
Do you really believe in this or are you just saying this? Mass surveillance was a thing in the USSR decades 30-50 years earlier than in the US.
Also much more effective too... Say something inappropriate semi publicly and of you go to the gulag (they toned it down and switch to psich hospitial after the 60s).
> leadership because the state doesn't have to engage in lying too much
tanks go brr... amirite comrade ?
> Say something inappropriate semi publicly and of you go to the gulag
You're thinking Snowden and Assange. In the Soviet Union, they were sent to the gulags for spying for the enemy.
Never forget, also on the other side of the wall, East Germany the paradigm of control and spying on their own citizens.
> As a result, Chinese and Russians peasants are pretty satisfied with their leadership because the state doesn't have to engage in lying too much
The only satisfied people would be the subsidized nomenklatura. Normal people do notice the aftereffects of de facto Kleptocracies aka the destruction of any organization, but who cares? so the common man developed apathy as a form of civil resistance (like laying flat in china today)
When are we going to give up on our representative democracy? It is clear that in the US the government no longer executes the will of the people. A bill as unpopular as this has bipartisan support. How do we proceed?
If you look at Europe, (not in the non existing coverage in mainstream press ), their answer is to protest. But that requires an informed population. Hackernews might be, but 99% of people are not.
The problem with bills like this is that it eventually shows the people what is really going on behind the curtain, and trust / legitimacy is lost. Its very difficult to gain those back. So it leads to blackmarkets annnnd totalitarianism.
Voting 3rd party and civil disobedience is the only levers the little people have when representatives no longer represent.
Also a huge amount of Americans CANNOT protest, because of that whole, being dirt poor barely scraping by, miss a day of work and be fired thing. We have no safety nets, so the people on the bottom have no choice in the matter if they still believe they can at least survive under whatever tyranny is coming down the pipe.
Voting should be a national holiday. There should be a national minimum number of polling stations per ten thousand people, and there should be limitations around how much a state can fuck with their placement and hours of operation.
There's also a lot of Americans who believe other things are more important but I don't think that is relevant here because this bill has bipartisan support.
Mail, Email, or call your state reps.
And yet, we're getting chat control. I think most people don't care or understand.
> Internet that serves >1M users
Not only that, if you selling hardware to >1M customers, then you are subject to this ban.
Hint: Your hardware might be manufactured in China, or a Chinese-affiliated company in your supply chain, then you are at risk.
No, it only applies to entities where China has a controlling interest. If you buy Chinese hardware that doesn’t make your company Chinese.
No, at 3:50 in TFA the bill defines holding as: i. an equity interest, ii. a stock, iii. a security, iv. a share, v. a partnership interest, vi. an interest in an LLC, vii. a membership interest, or vii. ANY participation, right, or other equivilent, however designated and of ANY character (emphasis mine).
That's a lot more broad than "Chinese controlling interest".
Edit: and "controlling interest" as defined in the bill means "a holding with the power, whether direct or indirect and whether exercised or not exercised, to determine, direct, or decide important matters affecting an entity." which is much more broad than the commonly understood 51% equity stake.
“determine, direct, or decide important matters” is what makes this specific. This is no different than the traditional definition of “controlling interest”. The meaning of “controlling” in this context has a long legal precedent that is not overridden by this bill.
Edit: as a concrete example, I do not have a majority share in the company I work for but legally I have a “controlling interest” because I am an executive as well as owning shares. I know this because that is how I am required to fill out financial declarations.
> The meaning of “controlling” in this context has a long legal precedent that is not overridden by this bill.
Thank you. I am not a lawyer but watching all the internet panic over this bill has had me wanting to smash my head against a wall. I don't think people understand that our legal system is based on precedent* and not just whatever broad argument an internet person wants to make based on their own selective interpretation of the terms.
(*As long as we're not talking about voting rights or abortion.)
I am for banning tiktok, but this bill seems to enable significantly more than that. Why shouldn't I be concerned about that?
Right, there’s no lower limit at all based on this language - it could be a single share.
I mean… as far as I can tell, the definition is so broad and vague that it would even cover a Chinese firm holding a US public stock.
Holding a minority of common stock does not give you the power to “determine, direct, or decide important matters” so no, it would not cover that.
Actually even minor stock holders can get to vote to decide important matters, so yes, it would cover that.
Further than that, many decisions are probably in practice made by minor stockholders as big pension funds, bank run index funds, etc have neither the will nor expertise to get their hands dirty.
This is why corporate raiders can gut companies by buying into them, replacing boards and/or force them to huge divestments, loans and finally dividends, and then when finished leave a husk of the company back to index and pension funds that just buys mindlessly to retain their index balance (even if the company has no real long term future).
As of 2021 institutional investors avoid getting their hands dirty by only voting about ninety percent of their shares. Individual investors show their “expertise” by voting a bit under thirty percent of their shares.
Say, when the corporate raiders buy a bunch of shares, how come the institutional investors still have theirs? That seems odd…
exactly. Or there's a person of slight Chinese origin in your management team.
Support in congress is directly correlated with what improves the standings of monied interests, the 1%, corporations, etc. What is popular/unpopular among the actual people of the United States is almost irrelevant to lawmaking.
So "beating China" is used to justify becoming China... well shit.
Not beating China so much as the ruling class cementing their power.
True, but that's never how they market it.
Tit for tat is a highly effective strategy in game theory.
Last I read, compassionate tit for tat is the best. Tit for tat, but forgive and offer compassion occasionally to stop mutually destructive loops.
Tit for two tats outperforms tit for tat.
Does the US need some sort of genocide program to counter the Uighur thing? Just because China is doing something stupid doesn't mean the US needs to copy them.
Letting foreign companies operate locally is a boon for the locals. The reason China is threatening the US with superior products is because they let the US invest in China for so many years. One of the few advantages the US has over the Chinese economy is the CCP keeps denying their citizens access to effective tools and ideas from well run external corporations.
There is a strong argument to ban Tiktok because it represents a military/social threat. But that isn't tit-for-tat, if the US is persuaded by that logic it is meaningless what the Chinese regulators are doing on their turf.
> Does the US need some sort of genocide program to counter the Uighur thing?
Another one? I'd hope the genocide against Native Americans should be sufficient for quite some time. Or is that too long ago now?
Nononono that didn't happen and we will ban teaching about it in schools because that makes some americans uncomfortable and we can't have that.
Is it any wonder Americans allow this kind of tyranny when we refuse to teach our past in school? American exceptionalism is a lack of education.
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> This has bipartisan support.
Yes. It's just digital McCarthyism. The US loves having an enemy, especially a Communist one, and the problem is that the Communists have got too good at capitalism, so they have to be banned from the market.
If this was actually about preventing surveillance it would ban surveillance by apps.
There is nothing communist about China anymore. It's a form of centrally lead, totalitarian capitalism. The problem is that it's an authoritarian system that denies all sorts of freedoms, is looking to expand and export its authoritarianism, and to leverage that through influence outside its borders. That's what makes China a threat.
But that's a hard thing to target, because the US does many of the same things.
Is that not a distinction without a meaningful difference since communism always ends in a centrally lead, totalitarian regime? The Chinese Communist Party merely used a form of state-capitalism to bootstrap it. Xi Jinping believes in Marxism-Leninism. That's not a secret. In 2021, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party declared Xi Jinping Thought "a new breakthrough in the Sinicization of Marxism."
There are myriad "centrally led, totalitarian regimes" which are nothing like each other. Contemporary China is nothing like 1920s Soviet Russia is nothing like Louis XIV's France.
> Xi Jinping believes in Marxism-Leninism
Perhaps, but China does not have any of Marx's empowerment of the working classes. Factory workers work ridiculously long hours for little pay, while their bosses become billionaires. That's not communism. Whatever label they put on it doesn't change what's underneath.
China even hit Marxist demonstrators at College. Current China, if any, it's something akin to state capitalism. Since Deng Xiaoping they only have a proper socialist village with "old prices". For the rest, China is merging into some national-populism.
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If you don't like this bill and you are a US citizen, now is the time to act. Write and call your senators and representative and let them know that you oppose it.
> It also uses civil forfeiture and makes it illegal to properly run a VPN.
From what I've read a VPN only becomes a problem IF you use it to bypass restrictions on accessing TikTok. Stating VPNs will be illegal is a bit of a reach from what I've seen.
Using a VPN (or any other mechanism) to bypass ANY service banned under the provisions of this act would be illegal (TikTok is not mentioned at all):
Section 11 (a) (2) (F)
> No person may engage in any transaction or take any other action with intent to evade the provisions of this Act, or any regulation, order, direction, mitigation measure, prohibition, or other authorization or directive issued thereunder.
The criminal penalty for willingly violating that "shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than $1,000,000, or if a natural person, may be imprisoned for not more than 20 years, or both". Cool and reasonable, to be sure.
>No person may cause or aid, abet, counsel, command, induce, procure, permit, or approve the doing of any act prohibited by, or the omission of any act required by any regulation, order, direction, mitigation measure, prohibition, or other authorization or directive issued under, this Act.
Meaning that the VPN service must track what users are doing to prove that their users aren't using it to do something against this bill. It effectively makes privacy-protecting VPNs illegal.
Made a blog post about accessing TikTok in the internet censorship era? 20 years of jail and one million dollars of debt. Can't make this up.
Yeah, that's a really good point. This is even more insidious than I thought. :(
That seems like an overly broad interpretation. How is this different from standard laws like "you can't aid or abet someone committing fraud"? You can plausibly argue that you can use VPNs to commit fraud, therefore any sort of law that says you can't "aid, abet, counsel [...]" is a ban on VPNs.
edit: standard laws against aiding/abetting. Should we be concerned about those as well? https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2
It's different because it's way more nebulous:
>(G) No person may fail or refuse to comply with any reporting or recordkeeping requirement of this Act, or any regulation, order, direction, mitigation measure, prohibition, or other authorization or directive issued thereunder.
You can plausibly use a VPN to commit fraud, but there isn't a "Fraud Investigation Secretary" who can arbitrarily decide how/what/when records need to be kept. The investigation for someone committing fraud on the VPN wouldn't give the "Fraud Investigation Secretary" the right to see any and all records that the VPN service has when a smaller subset of records specific to the instance of fraud would suffice. Oh and the "Fraud Investigation Secretary" can determine that this entire process can be handled secretly because it's classified. Oh and you're not allowed to ask the government through a FOIA request how it determined the fraud was committed through the VPN.
I reject the notion that the government wouldn't use this law as a dragnet. The Patriot Act remains expired after all.
And remember kids, the next time that somebody tells you "the government wouldn't do that"-- oh yes they would
This guy has been commenting all throughout the discussion showing he doesn't understand the text and hasn't actually read it.
Is that supposed to reassure people?! Million dollar fine and 20 years in prison for using a VPN is beyond excessive.
Where did you get the idea I was trying to reassure anyone? I was clarifying that the Act says nothing about TikTok (or any other service) specifically, since for some reason people keep saying stuff like "it's only for a TikTok ban". Not sure why people keep having such charitable interpretations of this overly-broad and draconian proposal.
The first thing I think is important to point out here is that the bill isn't really pointed towards VPNs, any interpretation of it that leans that way is probably going to get shut down before it ever gets to the point that it's an issue at all.
Even if that were happening, you'd have to find a judge and jury willing to give out a fine like that.
There are times that such a fine would actually be perfectly reasonable. Imagine something like apple or Google providing millions of dollars worth of services, a 20-year prison sentence for one of their executives or a million fee is perfectly justified in such a case.
For individuals, certainly not, but that's why courts exist then that's why appeals are a thing. You have a right to a trial by a jury, have no jury is going to give you such excessive fees.
>the bill isn't really pointed towards VPNs
Funny how the laws always give the government absolute power, and then everyone has to just hope that no government from here into the future in perpetuity will ever use the rest of the overbroad authority.
They could have easily narrowed the scope of the language if they wanted. It didn't have to be written to be so broad.
The government could literally take any power at any moment for any reason at any time that they wanted to.
The same thing prevents this bill from being used to ban VPNs as the passage of a brand new law that specifically outlaws VPNs.
You can't just take a wild elaboration as gospel because it could technically happen.
Broadly written laws encourage abuse.
Edit: it was written by prosecutors for prosecutors. Please stop voting AGs into congress.
As do incredibly specific ones.
The key is to be generally applicable such that companies can't find loopholes, but specific enough that courts understand the essence of your intent and don't go overboard in terms of allowing abuse of the law.
Just stop criminalizing shit.
Times change, situations adjust, and new behaviors appear that need to be regulated and shut down.
You can't just stop criminalizing things, society would grind to a halt within a few decades.
What about when previously criminalized acts like consuming cannabis products become socially acceptable? It's still illegal on the federal level so that's a huge mess not to mention the harm that was done by enforcing those laws over the years.
You decriminalize it, we've already seen movement towards that happening.
Would you prefer hacking be legal?
Legality of hacking does not matter.
The only big relevant cases are across borders and often with the endorsement or the permission of the home government.
Small scale hacking is only prosecuted when someone did something very very stupid and obvious.
You just said we should never make new things criminal.
Hacking is a really clear and obvious example of why we need that ability and we will need to exercise it regularly.
Legally of hacking is a clear example of why your philosophy doesn't work. In that respect it's very relavent. Especially when you say that small scale hacking is rarely enforced, showing that you understand that even if a law appears crazy broad, the reality of the country and our system generally keeps it in check.
> You just said we should never make new things criminal.
I did not say that so do not twist my words. I never even said hacking should be legal.
I said that in the current context the legality of hacking does not matter because either large scale hacking happens across borders. Or often it is at such a small scale it never reaches the legal system (think spouses snooping on each other by using a password written on a post-it). Or the resources to track down a hacker are far to high to lead to an investigation and therefore it never reaches the legal system (think logins and cc numbers where people and banks just deal with it).
In the 1990's and early 2000's when most hacking was unsophisticated, prosecution might have been an effective deterrent.
> The government could literally take any power at any moment for any reason at any time that they wanted to.
It can but there is a process to follow and the process might take time.
It is the same with Russia conscripting and officially threatening to use nukes. Of course they could and they did, but in order to do so they first had to officially declare the annexation. Otherwise there was no internal legal basis to conscript since Russia officially was not at war, it was a "special military operation". They could have also gone the alternative route of changing the laws. Or the alternative route of officially declaring war as an aggressor from the beginning.
Same for official nuclear saber rattling, their official nuclear doctrine only allows defensive use and, before annexation, Russia could not claim anyone was attacking it. Before annexation, threats of nukes only came from TV people not high ranking officials.
No matter how democratic or repressive a regime, no ruler rules alone. Therefore even in the most authoritarian regimes there are processes to go through in order to achieve certain objectives. Different processes have different costs and risks. Those processes have steps with each step facilitating the next ones regardless of whether they are eventually taken or not.
This bill is just one of those steps towards dystopia.
You're kind of repeating the same thing here.
Government isn't a big slippery slope, it's a balancing act between the people and the government. Law represents where we stand on that balancing act.
It doesn't matter really how the government tries to shift the status quo. If things get out of line with the will of the people, and they notice, change will be brought to a halt.
This is a common fallacy, especially with recent talk of the "Overton window" that's convinced people it's a good idea to be as extreme as possible instead of approaching the middle ground.
Your party and it's positions do not determine the average person's point of view. They determine what positions you can sustainably maintain, and wherever you move you will see raising or dropping support based on that.
The government won't just slide on over to some crazy extreme. This is why Russia, despite all their bluster, is still not managing to pull a draft. The people don't want it.
And this is why TikTok is so dangerous. By getting into the minds of the people, they threaten to undermine the foundation of our political process.
Power is a slippery slope. That does not mean that it has a single destination or that going down the slope is irreversible. It just means that reversing an imbalance of power is harder.
Such a change can only be brought to a halt if the imbalance of power is small enough.
The Overton window is a thing. That does not justify extremism if your goal is a functioning society. The Overton window says nothing about whether a position is right or wrong. It only describes what is acceptable and what is extreme. The average citizen is not a static thing.
Russia managed to pull a partial draft even if the people didn't want it. People fled the country because of it. Because before that, all protests were swiftly crushed. It managed to do so because the imbalance of power is great enough that what the people want matters less.
For comparison France is seeing protests for increasing retirement age by two years. It is better to be a citizen of France than a citizen of Russia.
I never said that TikTok is not dangerous. Influencing the minds of people through TikTok is just one way to influence the Overton window.
What many people criticizing this bill are saying is that despite TikTok being a danger of multiple kinds, this bill is also a danger for democracy.
Not having ever used TikTok I will not speculate on which danger is greater, but this is not a dichotomy. Pass the bill as is or not are not the only two options. A better bill that addresses the threats while introducing less threats of its own is possible.
> It only describes what is acceptable and what is extreme. The average citizen is not a static thing
My point here is that government is ultimately restricted by the people. Any assumption what the government does will change that window of acceptability is wrong.
This bill won't make it OK for the government to ban (insert thing the average person likes or does here). To do so will likely mandate that the average person begin to dislike or oppose that thing.
> Russia managed to pull a partial draft even if the people didn't want it.
Key word here is partial, and as far as I'm aware it was quickly withdrawn. Ultimately Russia will act against its people, because it's an authoritarian nation, they just have to get there.
The USA, however, is a functioning democracy.
> What many people criticizing this bill are saying is that despite TikTok being a danger of multiple kinds, this bill is also a danger for democracy.
The number of blatant lies about the bill makes me think otherwise. The tone isn't "this needs fixed" it's "this must not pass".
The end result here rapidly looks like it's approaching an end to any ban on TikTok, and when that happens we will be deeply and truly fucked. Far far more so than we would be by this bill.
Do you have a list of other dangerous ideas?
TikTok isn't an idea, it's a platform atop which people speak, and the platform is owned by a country that recognizes no right to free speech and is actively hostile to the United States.
You can't touch a platform, TikTok included. It's an intangible construct and as such it clearly falls into the category of ideas. Everyone knows this. The only reason someone would think otherwise is that banning an idea is a yucky concept and in a fit of cognitive dissonance, it must therefore not be an idea. Let's not fool ourselves. Folks want to ban an idea and we all know how that story goes.
It's absolutely tangible. It's an app. It's servers. It's a company.
I don't see how you can arrive at the conclusion that a company isn't tangible.
Companies are social relations with legal protection.
Apps are intangible and servers are merely substrate.
Hypothetically I could even steal all of TikTok's servers and I still wouldn't be TikTok. TikTok simply isn't the sum of its physical parts.
To put it in Saussureian terms, the signifier TikTok doesn't completely signify tangible objects. Therefore part of the signified must necessarily be intangible.
> Companies are social relations with legal protection
In other words, they are real things, you can go speak to people who work for apple. You can visit its buildings. Your can install their apps.
> Hypothetically I could even steal all of TikTok's servers and I still wouldn't be TikTok. TikTok simply isn't the sum of its physical parts.
You're getting into the weeds here. To bring things into focus, how does any of this qualify the TikTok company/platform as an idea that would be "censored" if you shut them down?
I don't think you're going to convince me to re-reifiy the concepts of Apple and TikTok.
Once a concept is de-reified the magic gets sucked out of it. If anything understanding enough about the process of reification to de-reify the concept has a much greater chance of de-reifying the concept in your own mind than it does re-reifying it in mine.
Saying repeatedly that something is real to someone for which the concept is de-reified is only further evidence that they are attempting to reify the concept. That's the weird part of the reified mind - it's a self-alienating process - a mental blindspot and once you see your own blindspot, you can't unsee it.
That reads like a freshman’s essay on Baudrillard. It’s really hard to make sense of it.
I don't think it is impressive in any way. It's pompous bullshit that is really hard to believe they really believe it themselves and can now be generated by AI.
It's, like, saying that instead of seeing a chair, they now gained understanding and only see a collection of molecules forming some wooden fibers arranged in a peculiar shape and there is no chair because no physical object can be a true materialization of the platonic idea of a chair. Like, the chair was de-reified. In fact, if no one is sitting on it does it even have any chairness? You gotta, like, go deeper bro. Like, because of natures water and CO2 cycle, the chair is not a chair and you are not you, you are in fact one with the chair. It's all atoms and quarks and strings and stuff.
Same with any brain-in-a-vat solipsist concepts. Cute and logically rigorous but completely unworkable and useless. A philosophical dead end, a cognitive tar-pit and
If you think I'm saying that TikTok is not real in the same way chairs aren't real, then you haven't been keeping up. There are ways to argue against reification, but mocking ain't one bud.
I am arguing that whether the notion of TikTok or Apple or CocaCola is reified for you or me is absolutely irrelevant. They are reified to the vast majority of people so much so that even if a significant portion of their material substrate would be lost, it would be recreated because the brand is just that important.
The mocking was because it derailed the thread. The discussion was about a piece of legislation that has many undeclared goals and whose declared but unwritten goal is to ban TikTok. Whether TikTok is tangible or not, reified or not, an idea or something else is just besides the point. Thinking that it can not be banned is foolish.
Let me remind you that your argument was:
> You can't touch a platform, TikTok included. It's an intangible construct and as such it clearly falls into the category of ideas. Everyone knows this. The only reason someone would think otherwise is that banning an idea is a yucky concept and in a fit of cognitive dissonance, it must therefore not be an idea. Let's not fool ourselves.
You did not say "let's discuss about whether Tiktok is reified and how it could be de-reified". That would have been an interesting discussion.
There's a subsection of Berger&Luckman(1966) on reification that I'm applying. It's not a particularly difficult concept, but it has wide application and describes what we would call today "social facts" are made manifest as reality to some folks. It's a foundational sociological text and I'd encourage anyone who's slightly interested in epistomology to give it a read.
It might resonate with you like it does with others, or either seem completely vacuous, or even provoke a mentally allergic reaction like it does in some. The latter tends to have a load-bearing egoistic reaction to ideas contra to a singular objective reality in which everything must fit to a prescribed ontology, again a theme you might now recognize in the proceeding comments. Some folks desperately want to manifest their views as the correct view of what "being" is and wield it like a cudgel.
Never read Baudrillard; you're more than welcome to revise it to make it sophomoric, or even grad level if you want. Show me up and do it better than me.
> Some folks desperately want to manifest their views as the correct view of what "being" is and wield it like a cudgel.
That’s weird criticism. Why shoudn’t someone hold a view that in their opinion corresponds to reality to the greatest degree among all views that are available to them? For example, you seem “desperate” to manifest your views on TikTok and “reification” in this thread. And I don’t see anything wrong with that.
> you're more than welcome to revise it to make it sophomoric
That’s easy. You should clearly define the technical jargon that you use and the theories that you apply. It looks like you reify the ideas of Berger and Luckman and, what is worse, the words they use.
Explication will help others to make sense of your unconventional use of words and help you de-reify the ideas that you use ;)
This is off-topic sophistry.
Your argument that "TikTok is an idea" does not syllogistically connect with "TikTok should not be banned" because the connector "Ideas should not be banned" is invalid.
Intangible things have been banned and will continue to be banned especially if you extend that notion to include companies.
nailed it. sophistry indeed.
Your argument is a bit too philosophical.
But going by that definition (intangible construct) plenty of ideas have been banned before without issue.
I do think there is merit in understanding that TikTok can be a threat vector unlike Facebook which is also a distinct threat vector.
Just as there is merit in accepting that this bill is a threat.
It's not even philosophical; it's sociological. Besides, the banning of ideas ventures too far into the IdeaCrime territory than I feel comfortable with.
The reason why they have to at least pretend to play by the rules that are supposed to bind them as much as they do is because legitimacy is what keeps people from quitting the game, bringing it to a halt, and starting their own new games.
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I'm sure you're aware that realistically most people would just plead guilty and accept some kind of deal rather than go through the court system.
There are also lots of people who wouldn't.
Many more would plead and that's the problem.
At this rate you may as well just tear down the whole government. You can't write law that's specific to every single use case, you have to rely on courts for that.
If you're going to say that you can't trust courts to do this job, you're saying that the whole government is non-functional, and That point there's nothing you can say or do that's reasonable.
Blanket cynicism and obstruction helps no one and gets us nowhere.
> In any given year, 98% of criminal cases in the federal courts end with a plea bargain — a practice that prizes efficiency over fairness and innocence
Can't help but be cynical when presented with these numbers.
The laws are written by prosecutors for other prosecutors to generate headlines and votes.
That's not exactly a great number to show if you don't know the percentage of people going to trial who are guilty in the first place.
If you know you did the crime, you know they've got proof, you have an option to take a plea deal that's less than the costs of losing the court case, wouldn't you take it?
You're not being put in jail for 20 years for using a VPN (eg. for torrenting). You're being put in jail for 20 years because you violated other provisions of the law and tried to evade using VPNs. It's not any different than you getting put in jail for 20 years for violating some anti-terror legislation, and using VPNs to pull that off.
 realistically not, given federal sentencing guidelines, see: https://www.popehat.com/2013/02/05/crime-whale-sushi-sentenc...
Having 20 year sentence on the books for something that isn't rape or murder is barbaric in my opinion.
Did you miss the footnote?
The footnote is irrelevant, the guidance says you shouldn't, but the law says you legally can.
The latter is enforceable, the former is just a recommendation
Nope. Didn't even click it.
Prosecutors use the arduous court system to force their victims to accept pleas.
That might be true, but it still doesn't change the fact that you're unlikely to get 20 years for accessing tiktok over VPN. You might get some sort of prison sentence (or none, too lazy to look up the exact guidelines), but saying 20 years is pure hyperbole.
> saying 20 years is pure hyperbole
The law says "up to 20 years". Therefore, american citizens can be imprisoned for 20 years over this bullshit. Don't minimize it.
> unlikely to get 20 years ...
20 years for being a teenager and watching shitty vlogs and memes? "unlikely" doesn't cut it, anything less than "impossible" should be unacceptable.
> You might get some sort of prison
Again: WHAT? go to prison for watching shitty vlogs and memes? You guys are really reaching Saudi Arabia levels with this law, how can you be so complacent with that?
He's doing an apple's to apples comparison in his head: Rapists get a headline sentence of 20 years, so VPN users getting the same sentence is insane.
No you see, you guys gotta read his footnote about a wholly unrelated topic
I can already see the copyright monopolists lobbying the government to classify infringement as intellectual terrorism or something.
Again, the problem there wouldn't be that the law is banning VPNs, it's having harsh punishment for copyright infringement. That's a perfectly serviceable argument. Don't say they're putting people in jail for using VPNs, that would just be dishonest.
The same applies for the tiktok law. Go out and argue how the government is banning you from using tiktok under threat of prison sentence or whatever. Don't make the unsupported argument that the proposed law is going to punish you for using VPNs for unrelated reasons (eg. torrenting).
>violating some anti-terror legislation
Like the Patriot act?
That part of the argument can easily be substituted with something less controversial, like sanctions or wire fraud laws.
>wire fraud laws
The famously overbroad laws that get abused by prosecutors in cases like Aaron Schwartz facing 35 years for downloading files.
> The criminal penalty for willingly violating that "shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than $1,000,000
Oh, so it's just a fee.
And up to 20 years in prison
Only if you're a natural person.
You know "natural person" means "human being", right? Like an individual person, not a business or that sort of thing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_person
That's exactly my point.
> >No person may engage in any transaction or take any other action with intent to evade [...]
IANAL but "transaction" in this case surely refers to financial transactions, not just visiting tiktok with VPN on? If the government is sanctioning Iran and say you can't transact with them, it seems fairly reasonable for them to also say that if you try to evade that through various ways you should be punished as well. I don't see why the same shouldn't apply if tiktok is sanctioned.
No, the term "transaction" is defined very broadly in the bill, and includes "use of any information and communications technology product or service."
IANAL but based on the full quote:
>(17) TRANSACTION.—The term “transaction” means any acquisition, importation, transfer, installation, dealing in, or use of any information and communications technology product or service, including ongoing activities such as managed services, data transmission, software updates, repairs, or the provision of data hosting services, or a class of such transactions.
it's pretty obvious from the examples they're talking about B2B transactions, not consumers visiting their site.
The quote you cite indicates exactly the opposite. I'll omit some of the optional elements of the sentence to create a concise sentence that makes it clear simply downloading something is considered a transaction:
> The term “transaction” means any use of any information and communications technology product or service.
I'll concede that the law can possibly be interpreted to ban Americans from using tiktok.
No? The quote literally includes "data transmission" as a transaction.
Unfortunately the word "or" means the word "transaction" can be completely ignored and thus literally everything else is covered by the overly-broad words "take any other action", such as using a VPN or similar service.
To make it more clear, you can read that specific entry as:
"No person may engage in any action with intent to evade the provisions of this Act, or any regulation, order, direction, mitigation measure, prohibition, or other authorization or directive issued thereunder."
>"No person may engage in any action with intent to evade the provisions of this Act, or any regulation, order, direction, mitigation measure, prohibition, or other authorization or directive issued thereunder."
And which part of the act prevents you from visiting tiktok?
The act itself does not, it only gives the secretary of commerce the power to create regulations and other mandates related to any company owned by something that is defined as a foreign adversary, which in the bill is listed as Venezuela, China, Iran, Russia, the typical types.
Basically what would happen is, Bill gets passed.
The secretary of commerce, or some other figure in that range, talks to the president and they decide yeah, we need to ban those guys.
They talk to apple, Google, Microsoft, various cloud providers, and say "yeah, you're taking them off your store. You're also not allowed to do any business with them anymore".
I don't think it's likely they end up talking to ISPs to try to cut off the internet side of things, because that's going to take a lot more work and the people given power in this case aren't the sort to try to do that sort of thing.
So you're probably never going to be unable to access the website, they're just going to make it a heck of a lot harder to use it, and they're going to cut off all profit motive.
> I don't think it's likely they end up talking to ISPs to try to cut off the internet side of things, because that's going to take a lot more work and the people given power in this case aren't the sort to try to do that sort of thing.
Given sci-hub is banned at the ISP level here in the UK, I disagree.
Totally different country. Totally different laws. You can't compare them.
>The secretary of commerce, or some other figure in that range, talks to the president and they decide yeah, we need to ban those guys.
>They talk to apple, Google, Microsoft, various cloud providers, and say "yeah, you're taking them off your store. You're also not allowed to do any business with them anymore"
Yeah, that's what I thought the law does. I think that's bad for other reasons, but the "omg they're going after your VPNs" rhetoric is over the topp.
No part does, until TikTok becomes one of the services banned as per the "mitigation" acts defined under this Act.
I skimmed the bill and I'm having a hard time determining what type of activity is prohibited once an entity is identified, except for
>(B) with respect to a transaction found to pose an undue or unacceptable risk and qualify as a covered transaction, determine whether—
>(i) the covered transaction should be prohibited; or
>(ii) any other action should be taken to mitigate the effects of the covered transaction.
I suppose the least charitable interpretation is that this gives them unlimited power to do whatever they want to "mitigate", but that seems like something that would be struck down by the courts for being too broad.
Yes, the mitigation action is completely variable and could include basically anything. It's intentionally vague because it might mean banning a service, seizing assets, who knows what.
> (12) MITIGATION MEASURE.—The term “mitigation measure” means a measure agreed to in an agreement between any relevant party and the Federal Government, or ordered by the Federal Government and of which any relevant party has been notified, in any matter addressed under this Act to address any risk arising from a covered transaction or associated with a covered holding.
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20 years of jail for accessing TikTok. In what universe could this possibly be reasonable.
That is not in any way better. It does indeed criminalise VPN usage.
Be that as it may, the bill is still illiberal bullshit and a transfer of power interest wrong hands.
What's the exact language pertaining to VPNs?
Is this the movie and tv industry at work again trying to get people to stop using vpns to get free content?
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Since tiktok is not mentioned in the bill I find this hard to believe.
It would involve any attempt to bypass regulations placed down in the sake of national security, which would be something like using a VPN in order to give money to TikTok.
That sounds... fine? It's like having a bill that says you can't join designated terrorist organizations or fund money to them, and if you try to use VPNs to cover your tracks or to send payments to them it's also punishable.
It seems completely unnecessary to specifically mention VPNs though. It shouldn't matter whether you funded terrorist organizations over the public internet vs through a VPN, either should be equally illegal.
>It seems completely unnecessary to specifically mention VPNs though
"VPN" occurs exactly zero times in the bill.
Thanks, I need to stop taking comments at face value when people are talking about stuff like this.
While VPNs are not mentioned explicitly, there is very clear language that talks about attempting to evade the rules, which would clearly apply to VPNs.
Furthermore, some have pointed out that the language of the bill could force providers to start tracking what users do.
I’ve encountered quite a few “but the bill says nothing about VPNs” comments and those seem to be problematic takes.
The bill doesn’t mention TikTok either.
>Furthermore, some have pointed out that the language of the bill could force providers to start tracking what users do.
Here are two discussion subthreads that go down this path, and most of the threads here on HN have some variation of this exploration  .
The key issue seems to be the very open ended language about attempting to circumvent or aiding in the circumvention of any enacted restrictions.
As written, this seems to potentially impact both users of VPNs and VPN providers.
-  https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=35367684
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I think it's fine.
The lawmakers aren't evil mustache twirling villains, they're trying to create a law and they wrote it as sensibly as they reasonably would in their circumstance and people on the internet are blowing it way out of proportion.
Blowing things up like this is a thing the internet, America in general, has problems with. The TTP, If you remember that one, was another one that people absolutely tried to crush and it turned out it was actually a really good idea that we should have been part of.
The reaction to this is scarily similar, and it's going to be resulting in a similar loss if it gets shut down.
In all hopes they buckle down, put down some revisions to neuter some of the more egregious things people are complaining about, and the law passes with those extra protections.
Villains who twirl their moustache are easy to spot. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well-camouflaged. - Picard
The TPP was not a good idea and it was great that Trump shut it down.
It was a very good idea, and by shutting it down we basically handed a huge amount of power to China in the degree deal between a bunch of southeast Asian nations is one led by them instead of us.
Trump's withdrawal from that agreement was one of the most catastrophic decisions the United States government has made in the last 20 years.
Even his opponent: Hillary Clinton was firmly against the TPP:
"I will stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I oppose it now, I’ll oppose it after the election and I’ll oppose it as president.”
The TPP's 5,000+ pages actually had very little to do with trade. Instead, corporations tried to turn it into a wish list for policies that they knew would never pass through Congress.
Both Hillary and Obama were in support of the law before populist outrage showed up and they had to pivot.
They were in favor of it because it was a good law, and it further an American interests in the wider world. Half of the restrictions and changes were ones that literally didn't affect America and just brought other countries up to the Americans standard.
They pivoted because a extraordinary, vast majority of Americans on both sides of the political spectrum were against the TPP - extensive opinion polling already showed this. Calling this as as "populist" instead of "democratic" is a new spin nowadays to naysay the beliefs of American citizens.
> because it was a good law, and it further an American interests in the wider world.
No, it wasn't a good law. It would have raised the cost of drugs significantly. The pharma bros are already billionaires. We don't need them to get richer. It had no protection for low-income American workers - esp auto workers. TPP would have led to a mass offshoring of jobs. Frankly, I do not wish this to devolve into a discussion on TPP, because its disadvantages and non-trading related addendums were already covered by media on both the left and the right.
> They pivoted because a extraordinary, vast majority of Americans on both sides of the political spectrum were against the TPP - extensive opinion polling already showed this. Calling this as as "populist"
Do you know what populist means? Short term appeal to voters instead of long term and more difficult decision making.
> No, it wasn't a good law. It would have raised the cost of drugs significantly.
Yeah. For other countries. America already pays these prices. In fact, a lot of that is what lets these drugs exist for other countries in the first place.
This likely would have *lowered* the price for Americans.
> Short term appeal to voters instead of long term and more difficult decision making.
Hah, the American voter is far more brighter than HN folks give them credit for. They have to look out for their interests since the elite most certainly wont.
No, the drug prices wouldn't have reduced. Come now - provide your logical reasoning why the drug prices would have reduced ? Do you really think the Pharma industry would have gained suddenly gained sympathy after achieving a perfect stanglehold?
The US imports >50% of its generic drugs from nations who have none to minimal drug patent protection policies and thats how it keeps it's citizens alive. You would have had the pharma billionaires choke this supply too.
Because you would have gotten even more Tiktoks?
Every modern bill for free trade agreements is perverted into a corporate wishlist to the detriment of most people.
What do you believe would have been the key benefit?
Even more tick tocks? China wasn't part of the deal, it was a bunch of other nations that aren't China, and trade with them is almost entirely great.
There were, at best, some good parts. Then, there's the stuff granting multinational corporations the ability to sue governments for harming their profits.
The text defines transaction to include the act of transmitting data. You wouldn't need to give them money, by a plain reading a simple HTTP request would be illegal.
Is viewing ads in TikTok giving them money? What if I click through and buy the item and they get a cut? What about sending gifts to creators from which they get a cut? What if all done via cryptocurrency? Gift cards? Someone bought a TikTok voucher in another country, gifted to me that I redeemed via VPN?
It also says transactions or any other actions... So, I let myself be tracked by TikTok by using a VPN, am I a criminal?
These are all good questions, and questions like this generally gets settled through court cases.
9 times out of 10 you can basically assume, " reasonability". Does viewing ads in TikTok give them money? I would expect not, because you're not getting the money. Posting ads on there certainly would count.
Giving gifts to creators probably would also count, although I'm sure a court would consider that incredibly minor, it would probably never get enforced, and even if it did it would probably be some tiny paltry amount.
The bank who lets that transaction happen however, might get in trouble.
If you let yourself be tracked using a VPN...? I suspect the answer to that question is going to lie in why you're doing that. Inadvertently? Almost certainly not going to be an issue.
Do you have some sort of ulterior motive? It's probably going to be a problem. After all, you're literally committing espionage for a foreign adversary of the United States in this case.
Remember that law is backed by court cases, and courts tend to be pretty reasonable. These things aren't programmed, they're human
Since it's unconstitutional for bills to target individual people or companies, they are never mentioned by name in the text. This is not some sort of conspiracy.
I’ve said this before: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=35123415
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They are trimming the branch they standing on, good luck.
Well kids were spending too much time on social media, which is just industrialized gossip. This bill will fix that. All of it.
What do you suppose will be the domestic political implications of such a ban?
What's that about VPNs?
Also would like to know
It goes to the issue of the what we might call the "Uniparty" - On some rather important issues like war and civil liberties the politicians band together in unity to indulge in some ugly authoritarian warmongering.
It took 20 years for the PATRIOT act to start cropping up politically (in an unusual display of cosmic fairness, the noisy Republicans are the ones being painted as terrorists - maybe that'll teach them a lesson about civil liberties and not giving cover to these horrible acts? Hoist with thine own petard) How long before this is used against the next left/right wing populist promising peace? Maybe even this year if they can use it against Trump.
Could we please have a source on the bill making it illegal to use a VPN?
There is no source, it doesn't make it illegal to use a VPN. It makes it a legal to use a VPN to bypass the restrictions in the law.
The intended idea is that you can't do business with tick tock and if you do try to use things to bypass that so you can do business with them, you get to face the fines.
It's not intended as a broad generic surveillance bill, and it's not intended as a means with which to ban all VPNs.
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If getting around this bill is illegal, and the bill is to be enforced, how do we know if someone is trying to get around the new law?
If we do not know what's going on within a VPN, how do we know the law is being obeyed?
How do we find out how everyone is using a VPN?
I thought the phrase "land of the free" was always meant ironically anyway.
I believe the original wording was "land of the free for the first 6 months, no credit card required"
The end of the Internet as we know it is upon us.
Interesting times we’re living in.
Yeh, the grip of both govt and business will gradually wear down everything that made it amazing in its infancy. It has been sad to watch gradually unfold. Keep using and propagating open software and hardware, I guess. Not sure what else one can do. I mean, we can vote and rally and raise awareness but like, the largest forces in society basically guarantee the "enshittification" (as Doctorow puts it) of the net, sadly.
> Not sure what else one can do.
Participate in the formation of a giant decentralized mesh network with strong privacy/security/anonymity guarantees all the way down the stack and work to make it ridiculously accessible & user-friendly?
Then the government makes the operation of such things illegal and since they use radio they can home in directly on the signal.
Right, I literally started thinking about exactly this line of thinking: mesh networking, E2EE, etc.. but it'll just be outlawed and no one will participate in it. It's coming, it really is just a matter of time. It will probably take longer than we expect, and then suddenly it will just be.
They'll call it the dark mesh and show images of faceless people wearing hoodies and doing stuff in the dark with their computers.
I normally agree with counterarguments rooted in the state's monopoly on violence, but in this case other options for the PHY layer exist.
Seamless multi-PHY is possible if care is taken to prevent leaks in the abstraction e.g. precise timing expectations up the stack.
Plus, plenty of side channels exist with our conventional PHY. You can copy beacon frames from nearby 802.11 APs and rebroadcast them at just the right time to achieve transmission of an FSK modulated signal, for instance.
(In this case there would just be more of the same beacon frames in the air. You'd have to look at what the AP advertises as its broadcast interval to know that they don't belong there. Furthermore, you wouldn't be able to easily pinpoint the source of the extra transmissions or decrypt their content under a well-designed protocol.)
These kind of network already exists.
Guifi [Spain] http://guifi.net/en/what_is_guifinet
Freifunk [Germany-Austria-Switzerland] https://freifunk.net/en/
Ninux [Italy] http://map.ninux.org/
This is actually exactly what GPT suggested. It even gave me python 3 code to run an LLM in a distributed mesh network of Raspberry Pis, which could pull together resources dynamically to infer prompts from nodes in the network.
Super fascinating. It gives directions and code to setup the devices and everything.
I asked it how could a benign AI spread without fear of being shutdown while trying to help humanity.
Yeah. It will probably fracture into many regional or national networks as governments impose their laws on it. Sad.
A disconnected Internet has always been the case just from the perspective of language alone. Only something like 15-20% of the world's population can speak any English, and only approximately 4-5% of the world's population speak English as a first language. I'm sure reading and writing skills are much worse than these figures. English language skills are generally poor across Asia, Africa and the Middle East and it is Asia and Africa touted to contain the overwhelming bulk of the world's population by 2050. These English language skills are improving in some countries, but stagnant or declining in many others, with regional languages predicted to play an increasing role due to changing stances on globalisation.
If the Internet was viewed as waning (along with globalisation), the lack of cross-language and cross-cultural communication tools would surely have to be a key or largest contributor. If you asked an average person in Pakistan to use the Internet to find the location of the closest shop selling beds near Buena Vista, Colorado, could they do it? If you asked an average person in America to use the Internet to determine whether a pharmacy in Langtang, Nigeria could sell them a common medication whilst on a tourist trip, could they do it?
nitpicking: English is an official language of Nigeria
To a point that is already the case. There are plenty of countries with different rules for the Internet. Also the content varies a lot across the world, same for the most popular apps and websites.
And in some ways it’s amazing to see such great diversity.
This is not accurate. The bill only applies to companies in which China (or other designated adversary) has a controlling interest. It doesn’t even remotely apply to “everything connected to the internet”. I’m against the bill for vaguely libertarian reasons but the amount of misinformation surrounding this thing is ridiculous.
Who gets to designate “adversaries”?
This bill is a huge transfer of power from the legislature to the executive.
That means that for 4-year blocks, one party gets to control all the interpretations of the various vagaries and ambiguities in the bill and throw people in jail for 20 years. Oppose anything about Ukraine policy? You’re aiding an adversary (Russia). 20 years for you.
This bill is terrifying and much worse than the Patriot Act, which has militarized and politicized law enforcement and prosecution across the country. It’s not just bad, it’s evil.
> Who gets to designate “adversaries”?
The Commerce Secretary, however the bill also specifies the legislature's ability to check this via a joint resolution (in both directions, adding or removing from the list). The legislature has just assigned responsibility to a faster acting executive, not totally ceded their control.
Don't participate in or even oppose next invasion of other sovereign nation. You are now adversary. And all of your products will be banned from market...
It doesn’t say controlling interest, it says any interest or equity holding at all.
Section 2-3: COVERED HOLDING.—The term “covered holding”—
(A) means […] a controlling holding held, directly or indirectly, in an ICTS covered holding entity by— …
“Controlling holding” is defined in section 2-2
Edit: section 2-2 (2) CONTROLLING HOLDING.—The term “controlling holding” means a holding with the power, whether direct or indirect and whether exercised or not exercised, to determine, direct, or decide important matters affecting an entity.
hmm. does that include reddit and disney?
AFAIK tencent owns <10% of reddit, so unless they got super voting shares (unlikely) it's not a controlling interest.
As above, there’s no mention of this being limited only to a controlling interest. So, going only by the text of the bill, it _would_ apply to reddit.
In practice it might not be enforced that way, but the bill _would_ allow enforcement against reddit. I wouldn’t expect that to mean “Reddit CEO sent to jail”, I would guess the idea is to reserve the ability to force Chinese divestment from basically any tech company in future.
As above, Section 2-3: COVERED HOLDING. —The term “covered holding”— (A) means […] a controlling holding held, directly or indirectly, in an ICTS covered holding entity by— …
“Controlling holding” is defined in section 2-2
Edit: here you go
(2) CONTROLLING HOLDING.—The term “controlling holding” means a holding with the power, whether direct or indirect and whether exercised or not exercised, to determine, direct, or decide important matters affecting an entity.
> (2) CONTROLLING HOLDING.—The term “controlling holding” means a holding with the power, whether direct or indirect and whether exercised or not exercised, to determine, direct, or decide important matters affecting an entity.
Exactly - by redefining the common meaning of 'controlling holding' to remove any notion of majority stake or voting rights, this definition would apply to any average shareholder who votes in an annual meeting.
> A controlling interest is an ownership interest in a corporation with enough voting stock shares to prevail in any stockholders' motion. A majority of voting shares (over 50%) is always a controlling interest. When a party holds less than the majority of the voting shares, other present circumstances can be considered to determine whether that party is still considered to hold a controlling ownership interest
I'm sure the SEC has an even tighter definition of 'controlling interest' than this, and the bill could have used that definition, but instead it defines a new one.
You keep posting Section 2-3 and alluding to Section 2-2, which seems to be the direct definition that you wish to use to actually refute these arguments.
Given this, why isn't Section 2-2 also being posted or linked to?
If a company has a particular shareholder with 51% of the stock (or votes) then one might be able to argue no one else has any real control over them.
If everyone owns <10% then that’s a different story. Tencent can’t control the board alone, but they certain have some latent control.
If a vote splits at 49% in favor and 49% against, the 2% shareholder has all the control.
“Controlling interest” and “controlling holding” are well worn financial concepts with long legal precedent that are not open to creative interpretation. These principles are how the feds evaluate insider trading and such.
china certainly has influence on reddit though, even with 10%. quite a coincidence how tianenman square and Uyghur posts started getting removed after tencent came into the picture.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is opposed to the TikTok ban. About 5 days ago, she posted a video on TikTok explaining her thinking here:
The summary is: this would be a pretty unprecedented move to effectively ban a social media company. In this case, TikTok isn't even doing anything illegal as far as we know, because the United States has basically no data privacy laws that would be relevant here in the first place. The solution to that problem isn't to ban TikTok, it's to create a regulatory framework where companies are obligated to follow certain rules.
Also, with these sorts of issues Congress usually receives a classified briefing where they're told the nature of the allegations against a specific party. Congress, however, has not been briefed on what TikTok is doing, which is odd. And besides, those allegations should probably be shared publicly in this case because the effects of any potential legislation are so significant. As she says, "this doesn't feel right." It seems like Congress isn't following its normal procedures.
She doesn't talk about the language of any particular bill or how it doesn't mention TikTok at all; I'm not sure if the version referred to by the original video was available to AOC when she made her video.
The entire problem is that the US lacks even the most basic privacy laws.
The thing is, it seems some people want to allow US companies to abuse people's data, but not Chinese companies doing the exact same thing.
That is, the aim of this legislation is purely strategic and has nothing to do with privacy.
The US has privacy enshrined in the highest law of the land, the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution. The problem is that the courts have eroded the meaning and allowed loopholes in the name of "national security", which itself is a term that has been perverted.
> The entire problem is that the US lacks even the most basic privacy laws.
Probably because we never needed to.
There hasn't been a major Internet company being used by western citizens until TikTok.
The US government has been able get data whenever it wants it from the major tech companies because they've all been in the US - and there's been no reason to worry these companies are giving US data to foreign (especially non-friendly) governments.
China isn't the reason the US needs basic privacy laws.
To me this just sound like they are sad that they lost access to user information because users switched from domestic platforms.
TikTok's servers are still in the USA so the NSA still has the ability to snoop. I assume they're annoyed that after it hits US servers, it's exfilled into china.
Sounds more like it's just all an excuse to ring in this bill that actually has nothing to do with TikTok.
It's a mix of "kids these days", "our devices are brainwashing us" and "scary china" to stop you asking questions about what it's really about.
I don't think they care about that, I think they care about banning a Chinese app because China is not playing fair with American apps.
It has little to do with privacy - it's about adversary controlling a Skinner box which millions of your citizens have willingly put themselves in. It's just, how do you encode that into law? So privacy it is.
I don't know anything about this and on principle AOC is right in my optionion but Europe has the GDPR and other national legal privacy protection and Tik Tok is still being used in Europe. Do we know if Tik Tok does anything different in Europe and the US?
Tik Tok and any other social media spyware in general.
Just do their best to comply the EU law so they can keep operating? https://www.reuters.com/technology/tiktok-ceo-eus-vestager-c...
TikTok passes the GDPR in Europe because they don't actually do anything bad with user data
If the US bans it on national security grounds, there is NO WAY that any of the NATO countries will not ban it immediately. So 60% of European population will lose access. Then, they will recommend it to any other country that still wants to be friendly with the US... which means all of Europe (and most of the rest of the world) will ban it very soon.
It's important to note that it's not the "spyware" that they are banning; it's a media that they don't have full control over that they are banning. Wikileaks, for example, will be banned as a part of this.
> If the US bans it on national security grounds, there is NO WAY that any of the NATO countries will not ban it immediately.
I'm sorry, but that's not how this works. These other NATO countries are independent countries with their own legislature and parliaments, many of them bound more by EU rules than by current US tendencies or laws. Sure, the US might try to pressure NATO countries to follow suit, and some of them might, but it's far from given.
For evidence of how this will go: look at Huawei.
Banned in the UK & Germany (but only for 5G infra I think) rest of NATO didn't pay strong attention.
The US isn't even the leader in such blocks and bans in many cases either; Australia blocked Huawei and ZTE from providing equipment for its 5G network on security grounds back in August 2018 .. and various European countries were muttering about such concerns since that time at least.
(laughs in Australian)
We're independent vassals
> there is NO WAY that any of the NATO countries will not ban it immediately
I don't think it's that straight forward. NATO countries, and especially European ones, have a legal system that doens't allow them to just ban a specific company.
MAYBE the NATO countries will start working towards legal amendments that will make it possible to ban it. It definitely won't be immediate.
The governments might ban TikTok's by their employees.
> a legal system that doesn't allow them to just ban a specific company.
Which can be overruled by national security issues, I suppose.
I assume that their notion of "national security" is not as broad as in the US. I doubt European countries would take "it's commercially competing with Facebook" as a national security threat.
NATO is not a political organization (I know Turkey didn't get the message, but still).
Yeah yeah. It just takes protection money to protect the people.
> In this case, TikTok isn't even doing anything illegal as far as we know, because the United States has basically no data privacy laws that would be relevant here in the first place. The solution to that problem isn't to ban TikTok, it's to create a regulatory framework where companies are obligated to follow certain rules.
That's the thing: TikTok is basically state-sponsored, Apple/Google approved spyware. I don't have a link handy, but I remember reading that security researchers found the tiktok android binary had the capability to receive code remotely and execute it, meaning that the CCP can make millions of Android phones do whatever they want, especially if the code uploaded includes exploits.
But how do you legislate against that sort of thing? Especially when Congress demonstrates how tech illiterate it is?
It's also clearly being used to attack our society and infrastructure via children with poor judgement and little to fear from our criminal justice system. The platform does not not moderate in the slightest any of the various "tiktok challenges", most of which are dangerous to both the participant and general public, as well as causing lots of expensive damage. They could block or de-emphasize any number of the tags used in these "challenges", but instead they seem to boost them.
So we have kids sticking forks into electrical sockets in their classrooms and destroying the bathrooms, breaking into Kias and joyriding them at insanely dangerous speeds, purposefully causing people to fall in the most dangerous way possible (kicking their feet out from under them so the brain's natural protective instincts can't protect the head from trauma)...the list just goes on and on.
Did anyone notice that damn near every single one of these tiktok challenges seems almost perfectly tailored to cause a lot of damage or injury, and utilizes a population which essentially has nothing to fear from criminal repercussions thanks to our criminal justice system sealing their records once they come of age?
You know what happens when you ban a young person from doing something? They grow resentful and sympathize with the bad thing. If you shelter a young person, they leave and may never return.
Banning Tiktok would be the biggest strategic miscalculation I've ever seen. Basically every Gen Z and half of the millennials will hate the US Govt and sympathize with Tiktok, by extension sympathize with China.
Before we flail around hastily trying to shove some ham-fisted laws down our young people, because the immortal warmongering bigoted cockroaches who run this country don't understand how the internet series of tubes works, we should consider very carefully how damaging this will be to our young people's loyalty to the US.
If the government is unqualified to make the correct laws, they need to work with people smarter than themselves or step aside, because the consequences of this will be catastrophically worse than stupid dangerous "challenges" which exist outside of Tiktok anyway and have since long before the internet.
You've made an argument that I've seen a bunch of times here. It's a rhetorical argument that goes like this, the content is fairly irrelevent:
"Combating [bad thing] actually helps [bad thing]. You see, [bad thing] becomes forbidden fruit when people combat it, and everyone is drawn to forbidden fruit.
If you really are concerned about [bad thing] let [bad thing] be unopposed. Let [bad people] do [bad thing].
It's not an argument I find particularly convincing. A cynic might think it allows the person making it to seemingly support [bad thing] without, you know, putting their actually opinion out there that they in fact like [bad thing].
As for the specifics of your argument, within a few months to a year I would expect Millennials to not really give a crap that Tiktok is gone- they would simply move to a Tiktok clone, it would be as uninteresting as WB channel becoming the CW channel.
I sincerely thank you for providing a terrific, well-worded and practical example of what is known as "THE STRAWMAN ARGUMENT". Can use your valuable contribution to educate people on logic fallacies.
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That was never said nor do I hold that stance.
Combating [bad thing] actually helps [bad thing].
That was never said nor do I hold that stance.
If you really are concerned about [bad thing] let [bad thing] be unopposed. Let [bad people] do [bad thing].
You must have accidentally replied to the wrong comment.
> You must have accidentally replied to the wrong comment.
Nope, you are well aware that he replied to the correct comment. The above reply or yours is really arguing in bad faith.
I read your post as arguing banning Tiktok would help the CCP.
It strikes me as a fairly straightforward form of "Combating [bad thing] (CCP in this case) actually helps [bad thing]."
It's true you never said CCP should go unopposed. I will concede, since I don't know you, it is possible someone could propose a way to deal with the threat of Tiktok/ CCP that wouldn't result in you once again saying "actually, your proposal to combat CCP would actually help CCP."
Maybe you can help me out. If banning Tiktok would not result in Millennials turning traitor would you support it?
Or are you actually against banning Tiktok for some other undisclosed reason?
Like maybe you think the free market should decide?
It's beyond me why you're so desperately trying to attribute and/or uncover some hidden additional meaning to my comment.
Like everyone, Ive many opinions and views. Some of mine are that we're being exploited by China, and our government is failing to advocate for us properly, covering their failures with these trash bills. I've all kinds of ideas of alternatives, to more effectively protect the US.
None of that was part of what I wanted to discuss. My comment was simply that tiktok shouldn't be banned, and I gave one reason why. Full stop. Your imagination is running wild beyond that.
There are many excellent comments and views that I agree with which provide alternatives, for example https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=35368537
Consult the others here for more discussion on these things, they're smarter than me and I have no interest in discussing further with you.
So a poster said
"Are there social media moderation laws? No? Then maybe start there."
with no further elaboration on what a "social media moderation law" should entail and how such a "social media moderation law" could effectively offer a solution and your take away was:
1) This was a serious proposal.
2) that 47 word post is an "excellent comment" that reflects what it looks like when a smart person attempts to solve a problem.
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> but I remember reading that security researchers found the tiktok android binary had the capability to receive code remotely and execute it,
This is a pretty normal thing in Android and a number of larger apps (and many games) use it to some extent as a way to modularize the application. An app can basically download dex files or other artifacts, load them, and execute them from within the app's process. While it's arguably not a good feature for the platform to have, this isn't necessarily some kind of diabolical hack.
The newer version of this is on-demand dynamic modules (which are hosted by Google), unfortunately I'm drawing a blank recalling what the older DIY version was called.
Does this permit out of band code execution, or does it require google or similar pre-cache any code to be executed? The latter is still a significant benefit over the former, as it guarantees non-targeted code deployment (at least if you trust the App Store)
Edit: and revocation.
The android platform lets you download code from anuwhere and sideliad it into your app (IIRX Unity can do this for you, for example). The thing I linked to does require you to upload to Play because I can't recall if there's a name for the DIY version.
Either way if the app itself is pulled any code downloaded is running within the app, so it goes away too.
> the tiktok android binary had the capability to receive code remotely and execute it
you mean like a browser?
Like basically every browser-based app, so electron apps as well as most android apps.
From my understanding iPhone apps work slightly differently but I sincerely doubt that it's not common place in that space as well.
I'm not saying that it's definitely completely fine, but it _is_ really common in that space.
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Like an app that can update itself over the air
Are there social media moderation laws? No? Then maybe start there. Because you can ban Tik Tok and tomorrow I can start TokTok and do the same thing legally.
The only result is the government has been used to eliminate a competitor to Facebook, who cannot compete in the marketplace. Doesn't sound like protecting kids is the goal here.
> Because you can ban Tik Tok and tomorrow I can start TokTok and do the same thing legally.
For that to be a relevant argument you would have to amass some relevant user base. I wish you good luck.
> I can start TokTok and do the same thing legally.
Isn't that the whole idea here? I mean, with TokTok being a US company, obviously.
> Doesn't sound like protecting kids is the goal here.
I'm not sure I agree about the conspiratorial nature of challenges. Challenges have been an artifact of popular social media since challenges started on YouTube, then Vine, and now TikTok. To say that TikTok challenges: (1) occur at a higher/worrying frequency (2) are designed to cause injury and destruction via an army of minors and (3) are "heated" up by TikTok, is a bold claim which at least anecdotally seems ridiculous.
> It's also clearly being used to attack our society and infrastructure via children with poor judgement and little to fear from our criminal justice system.
If only we had a system which taught children how to make better decisions. Some sort of teachery, perhaps. Maybe we should focus on investing in such places before laying the blame on what is basically Vine 2.0.
A large number of popular apps in the iPhone App Store have the ability to receive code remotely and execute it. I think this is especially common for games that will often use a scripting language to implement the game and then will push soft updates using the scripting language. But:
1) do you think apple limits what functions these scripting languages can access? 2) do you think apple audits the scripting language to ensure it cannot execute native code via an exploit? for example a lot of Lua runtimes are 'broken' and its trivial to get native code execution.
>the tiktok android binary had the capability to receive code remotely and execute it
So can your web browser. Unless you can actually provide a source here to clarify, you're spreading baseless speculation. Even if the CCP were literally controlling tiktok, it would be stupid of them to turn it into literal malware for a few moments of... what, exactly? And in doing so destroy the most popular social media app of its generation that literally every social app is trying to copy and catch up to.
The CCP aren't cartoon villains.
I don't know if there's been new stuff about it recently, but there's a good chance this is just sourced from a single reddit post that says they decompiled the app and found "loads of dodgy security problems just trust me"
I haven't found a source for this that doesn't trace back to this one reddit post.
You wouldn’t do that at scale unless you were basically going to war anyway.
Scenario 1: deploy malware on highly targeted devices
Scenario 2: deploy ddos logic or similar to all devices within a region
Interpret this as ‘what could happen in theory’ as opposed to any TikTok specific accusation. I’m not even sure it is possible to dynamically execute code under Android or iOS.
You can dynamically execute code on Android. Not on iOS, as far as I am aware. It's a pretty common design pattern for games, for example.
How is this unprecedented? It's not legal for a U.S. person to do business with a North Korea company.
If North Korea had social network companies, or someone in North Korea wanted to start one, they are already banned.
This bill went from being bipartisan to wildly radioactive overnight.
I am seeing sites from the entire US political spectrum, from far right to far left and moderates in between, techy and non techy, writing the same negative things about it.
Some senators (like Marco Rubio per his latest Tweets) are already distancing themselves from the bill.
I am still worried about another attempt... but I am not losing any sleep over RESTRICT. It is dead as a doornail.
They'll just slip it in to the next omnibus bill in it's entirety and not say a word about it.
This guy governments. How it's done =(
Let's hope so. I am not from the US but I have no illusions that this would have a vast negative effect on the net and increase governmental overreach. This is the source of why some people even consider Tiktok a strategical threat.
Just read the bill for yourself if you want to cut through the propaganda, that's what I did. The bill is awful. It gives the Secretary broad sweeping authority to access everything about everyone who they think is "suspicious", without any kind of safeguards or criteria for what makes someone suspicious. They then have the authority to prosecute that person if they determine them to be bringing harm to the US, without any clarification of what that even means.
The law has specific language for defining what a social media company is (over 1,000,000 users), but the law still seems to apply beyond just companies, extending to everyone including individuals.
Having read through the bill, yeah: I'm in support of the bill.
The bill specifically covers companies and businesses ("entities") held by "foreign adversaries" with more than 1 million "active users" or "units sold" in a given 365 day period, so the scope is narrow; the bill doesn't permit wanton authority over businesses period.
Neither is the "VPNs will be blocked!" narrative anything more than a narrative, propaganda. The cited passage, section 11 subsection 2 paragraph F is boilerplate legalese prohibiting violation ("evasion") of the bill and any subsequent actions that come from it.
This together with the Chinese propaganda machine seemingly going full bore convinces me even harder in seeing this bill passed into law.
Our disagreement here is just an indicator of how bills need to be written in a different plain English way so that laypeople like us can mutually understand it (I'm assuming you're a layperson like me)
How do you reconcile your understanding with the entirety of sections 3 and 5?
"Any person" of any "covered transaction"
IN GENERAL The Secretary ... shall take action to identify, deter, disrupt, prevent, prohibit, investigate, or otherwise mitigate, including by negotiating, entering into, or imposing and enforcing any mitigation measure to address any risk arising from any covered transaction by any person
A covered transaction is defined as a transaction by a foreign entity and
So this covers anything arbitrarily prescribed by the Secretary.
includes any other transaction ... subject to regulations prescribed by the Secretary
The definition of a "covered holding" is the same. It's foreign holdings and
any other holding subject to regulations prescribed by the Secretary
A "covered transaction" is defined as any transaction where a "covered entity", which is to say a "foreign adversary", has any interest.
A "covered holding" likewise concerns any holdings held by a "foreign adversary", and also holdings "the structure of which is designed or intended to evade or circumvent the application of this Act".
A fuller citation of section 3 is as follows:
>to address any risk arising from any covered transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States that the Secretary determines—
>(1) poses an undue or unacceptable risk of—
>(2) otherwise poses an undue or unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the safety of United States persons.
That narrows the scope of this bill and the Secretary's powers to holdings and transactions concerning foreign adversaries, initiated by any person or with respect to property, which have more than 1 million active users or units sold in a given 365 day period, of which might pose unacceptable risks to the United States and Americans.
From the perspective of the government's duty to "insure domestic Tranquility" and "promote the general Welfare", this all sounds very reasonable to me. The key thing you seem to be missing is this is talking about foreign adversaries, not foreign entities.
IANAL, but as legalese goes this bill is actually pretty easy to read if one has a solid understanding of English.
What are your critiques of the OP article? This bill seems indisputably bad. One could just as easily say vague American "powers that be" were stopped rushing the law through congressional lobbying propaganda.
The Chinese govt doesn't control the U.S. tech press, or the political extremists, thats for sure.
Republican Rand Paul blocks the fast-tracking of TikTok ban - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=35366209 - March 2023 (48 comments)
Bill 686: Use TikTok over VPN and go to prison for 20 years and/or 1M fine [pdf] - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=35360033 - March 2023 (3 comments)
TikTok bills could dangerously expand national security state - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=35359577 - March 2023 (3 comments)
Senate Bill to Ban TikTok - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=35347925 - March 2023 (613 comments)
The TikTok ban is a betrayal of the open internet - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=35336748 - March 2023 (415 comments)
The next Patriot Act, but so much worse: Bill S686 the RESTRICT Act (TikTok ban) - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=35336366 - March 2023 (10 comments)
Patriot Act on steroids: anti-TikTok Trojan horse for censorship, surveillance - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=35334851 - March 2023 (164 comments)
The Government can arbitrarily ban any service because the law covers desktop apps, mobile apps, gaming apps, payment apps, and web apps.
I'm not sure what apps are left outside of the scope of this.
From the bill(full context)
6) software designed or used primarily for connecting with and communicating via the internet that is in use by greater than 1,000,000 persons in the United States at any point during the year period preceding the date on which the covered transaction is referred to the Secretary for review or the Secretary initiates review of the covered transaction, including—
(A) desktop applications;
(B) mobile applications;
(C) gaming applications;
(D) payment applications; or
(E) web-based applications; or
(7) information and communications technology products and services integral to—
(A) artificial intelligence and machine learning;
(B) quantum key distribution;
(C) quantum communications;
(D) quantum computing;
(E) post-quantum cryptography;
(F) autonomous systems;
(G) advanced robotics;
(I) synthetic biology;
(J) computational biology; and
(K) e-commerce technology and services, including any electronic techniques for accomplishing business transactions, online retail, internet-enabled logistics, internet-enabled payment technology, and online marketplaces.
I think this means command line interfaces are going to make a comeback.
I feel like even that would fall under the umbrella of a desktop app in the context of this asine bill. they didn't say desktop apps with a GUI, just any "app" running on a desktop which I'm sure they would argue includes bash or whatever else you're running as your CLI.
Maybe a service that you interact with over HAM radio via NLP would fall outside of it.
Are talking about apps visible on the graphical UI desktop, or apps running on desktop computers? Because I've been relying more on laptops lately, and they're not mentioned. So the combination of laptop + cli is not covered by this law.
>in use by greater than 1,000,000 persons
Bravo trying to squash a problem that will take decades to exist.
That is true genious. "Lets build a social network which will eventually force our adversary to restrict freedoms of their citizens, eventually moving closer to us..."
It is counterintuitive that the US government is introducing legislation that will seemingly appease the Chinese government, given that the US is a democratic society that values individual freedoms. This raises important questions about why the government is falling for China's manipulative tactics. By restricting freedom and ignoring democratic principles, it appears the US government is playing into China's hands, providing justification for their own repressive actions. The USA needs to be vigilant in guarding its democratic values and principles, and committed to promoting these ideals around the world, instead of compromising them.
One might argue that international conflict has always served primarily as a pretext to impose domestic social controls, at least since the cold war started. What I'm saying is that the ruling classes in China and the US arguably have more in common with each other than they do with their common citizens and the appearance of conflict is useful for both sets of elites.
> (2) Inapplicability of FOIA.—
> Any information submitted to the Federal Government by a party to a covered transaction in accordance with this Act, as well as any information the Federal Government may create relating to the review of the covered transaction, is exempt from disclosure under section 552 of title 5, United States Code (commonly referred to as the "Freedom of Information Act").
How is this even remotely acceptable? I'm generally in favor of a TikTok ban, but this bill is so ridiculously onerous that they handed the PR advantage to TikTok and made a necessary national security measure almost entirely unsalable.
>How is this even remotely acceptable?
Why not? It's not reasonable to expect everything to be public. There are classified documents, for instance. I skimmed the bill and "covered transaction" refers to financial (?) transactions with banned entities. Is that being exempt from FOIA laws really surprising? I wouldn't CTRs to be requestable under FOIA, for instance.
> Why not?
My view is that a government which works for its citizens should by default be open and transparent about what it is doing and why. There may be exceptions, but they should be minimized and justified.
FOIA is a rare piece of legislation that doesn't benefit either party or the bureaucracy but does broadly benefit the public. The bipartisan effort to nullify it feels like testing the waters for future FOIA carve-outs to insulate lawmakers from their constituents.
The language exempts everything pertaining to this act. If there's intel informing a ban, that's one thing. But everything, even unclassified information? That's too much.
It literally does not. As per your own quote
> Any information submitted to the Federal Government by a party to a covered transaction in accordance with this Act, as well as any information the Federal Government may create relating to the review of the covered transaction
That's certainly not "everything pertaining to this act".
If it’s not classified it shouldn’t be exempt from FOIA, period. The government works for us, not the other way around.
>The government works for us, not the other way around.
Part of "government works for us" involves not having them give up information in response to FOIA requests. I want the government to work for me by not allowing my tax returns to be disclosed via FOIA, for instance.
Fake and dumb example. That’s already excluded under existing law and you’re a pedantic troll for suggesting that was what I meant.
>That’s already excluded under existing law and you’re a pedantic troll for suggesting that was what I meant.
And this new law exempts other information. What's the issue here?
The issue is that you're not debating this topic in good faith.
This act exempts all information relevant to the act from disclosure, and unlike taxes of individuals, everything that this act would be concerned with is a potential risk to both security and individual liberties of every person in the United States as well as many people abroad.
"Any information" submitted that's relevant to the law ("by a party to a covered transaction in accordance with this Act") is exempted from disclosure. The law's purpose is to enable regulation of covered entities and their covered transactions; that's what determines what's relevant to the law.
Likewise, "Any information" generated by the government as required by the law is exempted from disclosure.
This would mean not only is any submission to the federal government in accordance with the act excluded from FOIA, literally everything the government does in regards to the act, including creating procedures, refining and operating those procedures, and even matters such as OIG reviews of procedures, would be blocked from disclosure.
Which renders true the point I made earlier ("The language exempts everything pertaining to this act") which you so glibly dismissed.
I'm not reading replies to this thread, so feel free to get in a last word.
Why are you in favor of a TikTok ban?
I go into more detail on my thoughts here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=35363138
The context in the thread is modestly useful.
I'm never an user of ByteDance/TikTok, but somehow this makes me sad for TikTok.
If you don't know, many Chinese companies sees the "overseas market" (mainly US and EU) as a backup plan. If something went wrong in China (say the Jack Ma situation during the past few years, and many other unsound ones), the leadership of those companies can just pop to another country and then party cannot reach for them, which is what ByteDance CEO did.
Now, without this market option, these companies can only dig in in China now, probably their eventually their own graves too, but business is better than no business, and overall China treat them more fairly this time. Even Jack Ma has returned to China just few days ago, he probably smelled something.
You might think, "wow, good plan, hurts China very well". Well... you hasn't seen what it would be like when a Chinese company gone full-loyal towards the party. The party is probably writing love letters to who proposed the act. A win-win for the party and the US, I'd totally say.
> The party is probably writing love letters to who proposed the act.
This is what they dont understand, if you take the club to legitimate foreign competition, the only ones left standing will ne the ones willing to play dirty.
And they will know they mist be loyal to their evil government, because you will have demonstrated that you will not treat them poorly
> The party is probably writing love letters to who proposed the act.
This is what they dont understand, if you take the club to legitimate foreign competition, the only ones left standing will ne the ones willing to play dirty.
What is the US's prevailing philosophy for domestic protection? Is it absolutely 0 risk? Is it 0 risk for certain things and not others?
My mind struggles to understand a cohesive leadership strategy for the next 100 to 500 years. The current state of affairs could easily devolve into anarchy within 100 years - I just don't understand what they are giving us to work towards together?
Bills like these say very squarely, 'we don't trust you, the citizen, to be able to defend yourselves. Nor do we believe that your efforts at incorporating new products and cooperating together to defend yourselves will be sufficient.'
So... you're saying we are absolutely hopeless in the next 100 years? I seriously don't get that as a leadership strategy. The American spirit is one that overcomes any adversity, not through avoidance, but through head-on action powered by an unshakable resolve.
This bill, as well as the original Patriot Act and almost every one since, discards the everyday citizen as the first and primary hope for the future. It is an erosion of the 'American Spirit' from our direct keepers of the flame; it's unbelievably sad.
I say all of this 'couched' knowing full well evil people exist and keep a whole community behind for almost 50 years through racism - so it's not a 'let everyone be mean to each other' == freedom either.
If the United States lasts in its current form for another 100 years, I will be surprised.
100 years ago, you could argue this country was fundamentally different than it is now — aside from rights (pretty much all of civil rights) and liabilities we now take for granted (the concept of federal income tax was just 10 years old, and not even fully implemented for another couple of decades), we were still two states shy of the 50 we have now.
The country will absolutely change in the next 100. No telling which way, though.
Anarchy would be great and the chances of that are extremely small. I think you mean a total surveillance fascist dictatorship
Anarchy would be great? Anarchy would be Somalia - warlords and armed gangs. I don't want to live there.
Imagine going outside of your house and engaging in voluntary interactions the whole day. A horrible horrible world.
Thankfully the government and police make everyone behave due to the threat of violence. What would we do without them!!?
Anarchy doesn't mean no rules
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>Anarchy doesn't mean no rules
That is exactly what it means...
Not really but I understand that the word is used like that by people who haven't spent 30sec looking what it actually is
It really means no government or central authority dictating arbitrary rules enforced by violence.
Does anyone have a breakdown from a lawyer about the RESTRICT act? I have no doubt that the bill is awful but all of the interpretation I have seen has been from people without legal backgrounds and with (to me, also someone without a legal background) very shaky readings e.g. just using a VPN AT ALL will get you 20 years in prison.
I recommend reading it yourself, it is not a very long bill.
It is crystal clear about the penalties for bypassing any “mitigation measures” that the executive branch creates using the bill/law.
So no, just using a VPN will not be illegal.
Using a VPN (or anything else) to access software or services provided by a “foreign adversary” that are deemed illegal to use by the executive branch will be punishable criminally by a fine of up to $1,000,000 and 20 years in jail and civilly by a fine of not more than $250,000.
VPN providers may also find themselves in hot water if an adventurous prosecutor wants to make a case that the VPN provider is “aiding and abetting” simply by providing a service that can be used to circumvent the law.
I would also appreciate a lawyer weighing in on that particular part as I am sure there is a lot of legal precedent involved in determining what counts as “aiding and abetting” in this context.
If you read the DMCA bill you'll learn that building a PC (a device that can be used for copyright infringement) is a criminal offense.
If there's one thing that the law as written seems consistently unable to deal with, it is anything that can be used for a variety of purposes, such as a VPN.
Instead of specifying things clearly, the wording is so vague it becomes meaningless and everything important is up to the courts to actually figure out.
> Using a VPN (or anything else) to access software or services provided by a “foreign adversary”
maybe im missing something ...how is that not already illegal? as an example, if someone in ukraine used a vpn to access the kremlins internal networks, id assume they were a spy for russia. the terminology is vague, but at first glance stuff like the pirate bay doesnt appear to match.
> maybe im missing something ...how is that not already illegal?
Why on Earth should visiting, say, a Russian news site, or logging into VKontakte from the United States, using a VPN be illegal?
"provided by a foreign adversary" is quite a bit different than "provided by a citizen living in a region controlled by a foreign adversary".
yes, a russian news site has a vested interest in supporting the russian govt, but its not the same as a web portal owned, operated, and advertised by a division of the russian govt. in other words, fox news's website is a lot different than the white house website.
> "provided by a foreign adversary" is quite a bit different than "provided by a citizen living in a region controlled by a foreign adversary".
There's no meaningful difference.
And even if there was one, public discourse in the United States makes it very clear that it doesn't see a meaningful distinction between the CCP and TikTok, between the Kremlin, and, say RT.
It's utterly antithetical to everything western civilization stands for to imprison someone for reading. Even if what they are reading is foreign propaganda.
It's shit straight out of the playbook of Stalin's USSR. And half this forum is arguing for it!
This isn't a slow-boiling the frog moment, it's shoving us right into the incinerator.
 Death to spies, wreckers, saboteurs and other counter-revolutionaries that oppose the freest country in the history of the world.
 Even in Putin's Russia, you don't go to prison for reading American propaganda. This level of insecurity is baffling.
> It's utterly antithetical to everything western civilization stands for
mccarthyism, the sedition act of 1918, and the espionage act of 1917 come to mind. whatever your understanding is of what western civilization stands for - and what you are arguing we are losing - are ideals that were created long after those previous acts came and went.
my point is that a set of ideals will be at risk if it is too rigid - western civilization has succeeded in part due to its flexibility in difficult circumstances. in other words, it is better to have waxes and wanes to the freedoms available to a society, than to be rigid in a set of beliefs and watch the society be lost to history.
Why turn back the clock to 1917? Why not to internment camps? Slavery? Genocide? Witch burnings?
I'd rage just as much against barbarians trying to bring any of those things back, too. This isn't a question of flexibility. This isn't some existential trolley problem crisis. This is reactionary authoritarianism from a few morally bankrupt elites running a waning empire, sold under the excuse of attacking a foreign adversary.
But appearing like a spy surely isn't illegal, is it? Being a spy is illegal, but because of the spying and stuff, not because you are in contract with people in Russia
I have read it but I still have a number of questions, such as:
1. Which parts, if any, are on shaky constitutional grounds? How is our current supreme court likely to interpret it?
2. Does the bill allow arbitrary warrantless access to user data of covered entitites' platforms?
3. How broad is addition of foreign adversaries, both in terms of adding countries, and adding affiliates to those countries. Can US based companies be added because they manufacture in China? or operate in China?
> VPN providers may also find themselves in hot water if an adventurous prosecutor wants to make a case that the VPN provider is “aiding and abetting” simply by providing a service that can be used to circumvent the law.
I'm not entirely sure how VPNs work but can't the providers just block access/refuse to connect to the IP addresses TikTok uses?
That's what you get when keep asking for more laws and regulations, this country has too much government and too many bad laws on the books and chances are new legislation will only make things even worse.
So stop voting in attorney generals and other prosecutor types to congress and calling for every transaction and activity to be regulated just because you dislike a certain company or the people running it, special interests will always hijack your cause and warp it into this kind of monstrosity.
And stop expecting government to fix problems that are inherently cultural. It cannot do so, and in the process only grows in aimless power.
Isn’t this bill a bit too broad? They might as well just write “We are the executive branch, we can do anything we want, rule of law does not apply to us”.
It is kinda sad to see such laws from western countries because it discards entire progress humanity have made during the past thousands of years in terms of law and justice. This is some type of regression to cave-men era, one can’t help but wonder how such fall from grace have happened.
> They might as well just write “We are the executive branch, we can do anything we want, rule of law does not apply to us”.
The best part is that it's the legislative branch handing over this much control to the executive branch. It cedes so much authority from the legislative branch that the executive branch can basically run the show without intervention.
Anything that can be remotely construed as bypassing a mitigation measure (i.e., telling someone how to download TikTok, or, hypothetically, any future social network or platform or service) could be turned into a violation without any further oversight.
It's even more interesting that similar sudden aggression from the state entities can be seen in other nations.
The entire elaborate system of american laws, the bill of rights, congress and so on exists for one purpose: to keep the state demon in its cage. For some reason it's gotten very aggressive recently.
Thankfully all of this bad press is starting to turn law makers minds. How it's turning out right now there is no shot TikTok will be banned. What we really need is privacy laws like almost every European country. But will currently lobbying laws I don't see that happening.
> What we really need is privacy laws like almost every European country
Not gonna say we _don't_ need that... but it's not clear that there's any relevance to tiktok. Given the track record of Chinese companies and IP law they don't agree with, do you really expect them to honor privacy laws?
That's not the point.
The reason the US judicial system isn't cracking down on TikTok is because there's no law preventing what they are doing. If the US passed a comprehensive data privacy & anti-surveillance law, US courts could sue TikTok into oblivion and even potentially levy criminal charges if they continued to refuse to comply.
But they aren't doing that. Instead they are trying to ban TikTok so that the other social media companies (which are all US companies) can continue doing largely the same shit without getting in trouble.
This bill is US economic & political protectionism. It's about banning software, services, and products from other countries without holding domestic companies to the same standard.
There is no such thing as a bill comprehensive and deep enough to ensure that a tool like tiktok not be abused by the Chinese government.
Imagine for a moment you went back into the 1950s and told everyone "hey, let's have all of our television run by the Soviet Union! It's okay though, it's not actually the Soviet Union, it's just a company in the Soviet Union. And we passed a regulation, the regulation says they aren't allowed to use the TV show to do anything bad"
They would think you're out of your mind, and the situation is similar today with TikTok. It doesn't matter how many regulations you put on it.
We should pass such laws regardless, but we also need these bans as well.
> There is no such thing as a bill comprehensive and deep enough to ensure that a tool like tiktok not be abused by the Chinese government.
This is Cold War 2.0 boogeymanism. It's "the state of exception" : the idea that normal laws aren't sufficient because the enemy is too clever and too powerful so instead we need exceptional laws. (And afterwards more exceptional laws, because they haven't been defeated yet.)
You bring up what would happen in the 1950s if we hadn't been more careful, but look at the actual 1950s: a time full of paranoid McCarthyism, innocent people being defamed and branded as Soviet sympathizers, the FBI framing people, the CIA testing drugs on unwitting citizens, and almost a nuclear first strike. "National security" logic rarely invites a nuanced and balanced assessment of the threat and possible remedies; rather, it's a kind of dogma that takes for granted that the threat is exceptional and requires an exceptional answer.
The discilpined alternative is to make good laws that enshrine a principle rather than attack an enemy (e.g. data protection, public opinion manipulation). This deals with the problem and also preserves the civil institutions and trust in the rule of law. If the problem morphs, then pass new laws. That's how legislating is supposed to work and how it works for every other problem.
China threatens to invade one of our allies every week, this isn't a false monster, it's an obvious truth.
And it's barely cold anymore, trying to actively supplying Russia who is at war with Ukraine today.
And I think you should take a closer look at what happened in the 1950s. If you read your history the Soviets were slightly more than an imaginary threat.
What's the problem with McCarthyism the fact that the Soviet Union was a wonderful great place? No.
None of this applies to something where China literally owns the company. The reason half of Eastern Europe is free today is the fact that we were able to successfully cut the Soviets off of much of global trade. Do the same for China.
Tiktok made the offer to have all their data and compute be hosted by a trusted US third party (Oracle), as well as to let itself be subject to US government oversight.
And none of that would have helped resolve the issues with the fact that they are still under the control of the Chinese government.
It doesn't matter where the data is if China controls the code. It doesn't matter where the servers are, if China controls the code.
Government oversight doesn't help, because you can't provide the level of depth and insight requires to actually make sure that everything is being done properly.
To exert the proper amount of control and security over a company like this you basically have to nationalize it.
Why does having control over the code matters when you can review the code? The argument you make is like Microsoft during the 90s when supposedly anybody can sneak malware into an open source codebase, which just isn't true because of reviews.
> There is no such thing as a bill comprehensive and deep enough to ensure that a tool like tiktok not be abused by the Chinese government.
Sure there is. An comprehensive data privacy bill would render it impossible to legally collect the data that is necessary for the abuse in the first place.
But that won't happen, because that would kneecap the US companies that these senators have stock in.
No there isn't, unless you want to regulate down to the specific details of what it's promoted or suppressed in their algorithm, who gets banned, who gets compensated for their videos, and so on
You'd have to regulate so harshly that you may as well just nationalize the company
I’ll be frank, Palantir and their customers and their suppliers scare the bejesus out of me. Chinese spy apps and balloons and what not, not so much.
I can be convinced though. The trouble is I’ve not heard a coherent explanation what China is going to do with a bunch of videos of people doing stupid stuff that could remotely impact my life or national security. If I were China I’d just use my overwhelming dominance in all manufacturing to make Trojan horses in basically everything then back door the world. Seems like they would be capable and it would be a lot more effective than knowing what every tween in America is interested in.
In my career I’ve seen what Palantir offers behind closed doors. I’ve seen what Google at least at one point was offering behind closed doors using their dominance in real time local data. Even if you trust Google, why on earth do you trust their data customers?
Have you seen bioemerl's comment about television? The one who controls the weights in TikTok's selection algorithm determines what people are going to believe.
Are you seriously suggesting that the Chinese government is actively adjusting the weighting of the TikTok algorithms to sway mass opinion on the TikTok app? It’s already a stretch saying that the Chinese government controls ByteDance because they clearly don’t.
If this is true, are you also concerned about the algorithms controlled by American billionaires? I think that's a national security risk as well.
I don’t believe that social media has nearly as much influence on most people as people seem to believe. I think it absolutely impacts some people, but most people have much stronger social influence from their local social sphere - family, friends, school.
But still some people are strongly influenced and that’s not good. But to what end? I think if it started pumping out Chinese communist party propaganda folks would notice. So, what’s left?
I’ve heard “dumbing people down” by pointing to the fact the Chinese version of TikTok shows more educational and improving content.
This isn’t because TikTok thinks Chinese people prefer educational content or that they get more revenue, it’s because the Chinese government requires them to show educational content. They show everyone else whatever garbage addicts them because, just like every other social media company, showing addictive garbage creates addicted customers and therefore dollars. If our government, say, instead of banning tiktok, did whah the Chinese government is doing - required social media to present more wholesome content to its users, guess what - tiktok would show more wholesome content to its users. As would Facebook, instagram, YouTube, and hacker news.
> Given the track record of Chinese companies and IP law they don't agree with, do you really expect them to honor privacy laws?
Since TikTok is storing the data on US soil (I believe that's something they've started), or if not, make them. Presumably they have or will have US presence in terms of personnel, money and so on.
If that is all true, which it should be, then it doesn't matter if you expect them to honor privacy laws. That's why laws have punishments. Apply fines, go arrest the people at their offices, confiscate their servers and so on.
It's so weird to me, that the logic is : They might not follow the law, let's not make it.
It's an example of the perfect solution fallacy, often heard when talking about laws or lifestyle changes (e.g. vegetarianism won't save all the animals, or going on a diet won't stop you dying et cetera).
I'm sure we can all think of ones in tech too.
There is relevance. You see now in Europe State Institutions and Coorporates are banning use of Tiktok on Official phones precisly because they can not guarantee the Respect of the privacy laws. Offcourse they are not banning private use of it but it beeing a social network, The Network effects will soon become apararent and tiktok will be used only for leisure but people will soon not bother havong another Social network that they cant use for a great part of the day. (Note that this attitute is not particular to China). On Corporate world we could not use a majority of US tech provided services also because by Euopean law we could not give guarantees that the US government would not access those data)
This better just result in a revision of the bill to remove some of the things people are complaining about and not shut the bill down entirely.
TikTok very badly needs to be banned.
Laws like cash transaction tracking and other egregious violations of financial privacy under the guise of transparency? No thanks, keep that in the EU. Just further proof that it really is the people that voted for the patriot act, because so many supposed privacy supporters are willing to defend state surveillance where it benefits them.
While chilling that this is so broad and thus likely has many "unintended" loopholes that could be used inappropriately.
The wording of the bill is limited to foreign adversaries (then lists them) - however the press I'm reading mentions talk about how this could be used to criminalise VPN and present other possible harms collectively being titled as "patriot 2.0".
Can someone fill in the connection between how it goes from a bill that requires a foreign adversary to suddenly criminalising VPN for everybody?
I'm not in favour of bills that include broad language, but I'm also cognisant that foreign adversaries would be extremely interested in spinning this bill to be worse than it is.
(i.e. if you could kindly point me to the section/s that look concerning https://www.congress.gov/bill/118th-congress/senate-bill/686... so I can better educate myself)
I've been approaching this from the same perspective and I'm wondering the same thing. It feels like there's a lot of spinning going on and I'm not sure people are aware of it.
This seems to be a common sticking point:
> to address any risk arising from any covered transaction by any person
where a covered transaction is
> (A) IN GENERAL.—The term “covered transaction” means a transaction in which an entity described in subparagraph (B) has any interest (including through an interest in a contract for the provision of the technology or service), or any class of such transactions.
> (B) COVERED ENTITIES.—The entities described in this subparagraph are:
> (i) a foreign adversary;
> (ii) an entity subject to the jurisdiction of, or organized under the laws of, a foreign adversary; and
> (iii) an entity owned, directed, or controlled by a person described in subparagraph (A) or (B).
I don't understand how you go from here to "banning VPNs for everybody". I've looked through the act and I don't see anything particularly egregious that supports the "THIS IS THE PATRIOT ACT 2.0!!!" take.
I want to see an analysis by law experts, not some techbros on HN or some random channel on YT. If I look at that channel, the description is "Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar is a fearless anti-establishment Youtube show and podcast." Uh ... okay. And I look at the rest of the videos they've made and it's just, yeah, this is a propaganda channel. Why are people taking this channel and the title of their video at face value? It feels like people are being played hard and we all need to take a step back from the sensationalism.
You need to read what a transaction is. Here is section 17 of the bill:
(17) TRANSACTION.—The term “transaction” means any acquisition, importation, transfer, installation, dealing in, or use of any information and communications technology product or service, including ongoing activities such as managed services, >>>data transmission<<<, software updates, repairs, or the provision of data hosting services, or a class of such transactions.
That means that transmitting data to a banned entity (for example, perhaps TikTok) would be a covered transaction, meaning that running a VPN would be illegal unless you also block websites yourself.
It's probably a good idea to read the entire thing before going on a tirade about how people are being played and falling for clickbait.
> The term “covered transaction” means a transaction in which an entity described in subparagraph (B) has any interest (including through an interest in a contract for the provision of the technology or service)
I interpret interest to mean that there is some business relationship between the person and the entity (as implied by the part in parentheses).
Again, I'm seeing assumptions that are being made by laypersons that I need to see analyzed/substantiated by law experts. So, yes, people are falling for clickbait.
You're making nonsensical interpretations that completely contradict the text and then accusing people of clickbait.
If you don't think laypersons should be able to discuss this topic, then don't. If you think it's okay to do so as far as we're aware of our limitations, then apply that standard to yourself as much as your interlocutor.
Someone having an interest in a transaction includes being a party to it. If you define a data transmission as a transaction, then when I make an HTTP request to TikTok, at least me and TikTok have an interest in the transaction.
> That means that transmitting data to a banned entity (for example, perhaps TikTok) would be a covered transaction, meaning that running a VPN would be illegal unless you also block websites yourself.
Surely it would fall on the government to prove you used the VPN for such a purpose? What are the technical details behind that?
I read that discussion and I don't see how it supports the idea - because the moment I broaden the law to cover VPNs in this way, then merely having access to the internet would fall into the same bucket.
The other reply to your comment is a curious one, they don't make their case and have taken a pretty aggressive tone while also giving you the straw man treatment.
In the meantime I'll keep reading to see what I can find, I'm sure there must be something out there (and would still be very grateful if someone can point me in the right direction.)
If this passes, I think USGov will take down SciHub right away, because their position is that it's affiliated with GRU.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/justice-dep... ("Justice Department investigates Sci-Hub founder on suspicion of working for Russian intelligence", 2019)
That's complete nonsense though.
> Fines up to $1M and 20 years in prison. It also uses civil forfeiture and makes it illegal to properly run a VPN.
I genuinely don't understand where this interpretation is coming from; I'm not challenging the interpretation, rather asking for an explanation. They intend on cratering SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS (+ insert any other solution where VPNs are ubiquitous with respect to access) for the purposes of prohibiting access to TikTok and ilk that belong to "foreign adversaries" (China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela)?
- Will B2B VPNs be allowed, and B2C / commercial VPNs be prohibited?
- How would they accomplish this? Ask ISPs to blacklist VPNs?
- How would any of this be enforceable? (perhaps I answered my own question with the preceding question)
edit: I replied to the general post rather than the individual whom I addressing my inquiry.
Seems that western democracies have been trending towards authoritarianism more and more as technology has improved over the last few decades. This is getting really scary.
From Mr Clinton (Sometimes featuring Louis Rossmann):
Summarization of the bill: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xudlYSLFls8
Full reading: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlQAxhM3vo8
Mr Clinton is apparently Rossmann's cat, for others that don't get the joke.
Mr Clinton is the star of the show.
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Last thread we have folks asking for full spectrum bill to target social media just to make it fair. Nah. I just want pinpoint TikTok ban with no vague and broad language for others.
This bill is anything but that.
One of the reasons the bill is structured as it has been is that the court shut down the last ban and was rumored to be willing to shut down a future specific ban.
Keeping it in general was actually a way to get it past the courts.
I'm not a US citizen, but we have our share of crazy civil liberties restricting bills as well, and when they can't manage to pass them the 1st time, they will try and try again until they succeed. We need to win every time, they need to win only one time. Generally speaking, one should be extremely suspicious of any bill that is being introduced during a crisis period (war, economics, etc) if it's not related to the crisis and it's bipartisan. Especially if it's bipartisan.
So Facebook/meta gets a monopoly on manipulating public opinion and subversion?
They need to be regulated and reigned in just as hard as TikTok.
That I can get behind, but for now it looks like 'The West' doesn't mind sharing data with each other as long as it is the users doing it themselves. The only country that takes a more aggressive stance on this is Germany and even in Germany Facebook works just fine. But a German company that deals with sensitive data should not send that data overseas without ensuring that this does not get them in trouble with the German privacy authority.
And how would you do that?
The right solution becomes more clear when the right problem is understood.
Banning TikTok just means the same problems continue to exist domestically. Meta, InQTel/CIA, et.al just consolidate their power and eliminate the competition.
Pandora's box is open and social media, AI, adtech ain't going back into the box.
Regulate it evenly across the board.
But but communists...
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Million dollar fines and 20 years of imprisonment for daring to access information the government does not want you to see. Amazing.
China is not an ally of the United States. The Chinese government wants what is good for China. Shouldn't be a contentious or confusing idea.
I don't get what people were expecting. It's fairly obvious that a "TikTok ban" is a restriction on your rights as citizens to run whatever software you god damn please. Why would the law look like anything other than this? The US government has no power to restrict China from doing anything. All they can do is stop US citizens from doing certain things - and preventing US citizens from using TikTok requires some pretty broad powers over your digital life.
TikTok and most of other social media is cancer entirely comparable to the tobacco industry. I wouldn't miss any of it.
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No problem, says China, if they can't get at us via software and the Internet, they'll just start installing Trojans and RATs on every electronic device they ever send us (source: my current laptop was custom manufactured and shipped direct from Shenzhen).
I bought an inverter for a set of solar panels recently and the only way to read it out / configure it is to allow it bi-directional access to and from a bunch of servers in China. I declined, and stuck a bunch of current transforms on the output lines so that gives me proper logging but there is no way to reach the configuration and setup other than what the display and infuriatingly broken single button interface provides.
This is one of the major manufacturers ("Growatt") and the market is such right now that you take what you can. There is absolutely no way I'm going to give unfettered access to a bunch of power infrastructure in my house to a Chinese server without even so much as a protocol description or a way to selectively disable certain functionality (such as all remote control and updates).
Just tripped over the same thing. Axpert MAX inverter requires .cn cloud connected App. Prev gen had BLE local control.
I had a look at trying to reverse engineer the protocol, but not much progress since I refuse to run the App. I can send a UDP message to tell it use my TCP server, but then it seems to require a magic knock at the door.
If all you have to solve problems is a hammer ("control population") instead of a toolbelt ("control or alter situations") this is all you will produce as a politician. The political duopoly market failure, which has prevented such "alternatives" from appearing has entered its final, terminal spiral, copying the external alternative that is chinas party, which seems to survives all kinds of turmoil.
I know we've got this great discussion going, but does anyone actually watch these kinds of "news" sites? It looks like a TYT knockoff and some pretty poor presentation. Who is Breaking Point, and are they reputable?
The use of some filler language and "corporate media corporate media" and adverbs used like sugar in McD's sweet tea is setting off my BS alarms.
This is the single worst way to address the problem. Just start a new US-based replacement for tiktok. Like tittok or something like that.
Of course this isn’t and wasn’t ever about TikTok. The same way the original Patriot Act was never really about catching terrorists. When a bill has broad bipartisan support you can usually be sure it is not in the interests of the people.
I am honestly a little surprised they named it the RESTRICT Act as opposed to something like “The Internet Freedom Act” which is more in line with how they usually operate.
The bill is overly broad to the point where they can basically ban any app or service for any reason, and they don’t have to tell anyone why they did it. It also includes a section I haven’t seen a lot of people talking about:
> (K) e-commerce technology and services, including any electronic techniques for accomplishing business transactions, online retail, internet-enabled logistics, internet-enabled payment technology, and online marketplaces.
“internet-enabled payment technology” to me sure sounds a lot like Bitcoin and/or other cryptocurrencies. So all they have to do is say that some Russian state actor used Bitcoin to transact and boom Bitcoin is illegal. You try to use it, 20 years in federal prison and/or up to $1M fine.
This is perhaps the most tyrannical/orwellian bill I have ever read. If this passes, Americans need to take to the streets and burn it all to the ground.
This ban and the bills seem bad, but they're not as bad as these folks make out on the video: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2023/03/government-hasnt-justi...
After doing some reading seems to me that this bill will cause a lot of selective enforcement. It’s very broad and if enforced strictly it would probably shut down a lot of the tech industry. So it will probably be used to shut down inconvenient people and organizations while others won’t get touched.
The foreign entities list has all the usual suspects in the current "axis of evil." However, the Act allows the list to change without further legislation at the discretion of the Secretary. This is authoritarianism under the guise of safety.
They could have used the opportunity to make all apps more privacy friendly. Like, make all social media apps function without access to geolocation, phone address book etc
People having access to secrets should only use standard-issue devices on the premises anyway.
This is so dumb, and I see a lot of Americans actually repeating the propaganda and truly believing that TikTok is a national security threat (even here on HN). Propaganda is truly an effective weapon.
There is good evidence suggesting it causes mental health issues, especially in adolescents. Keeping it under close study is a good idea, however calling it 'a national threat' is just knee-jerk grunting from 'the man'.
Sure so does alcohol, cigarets, gambling, video games, sugar, etc.
People drive around in more or less Chinese built cars. Or cars using Chinese tech. A bigger threat perhaps.
Apply the pressure on Google and Apple instead to provide a safe platform even if the apps are rouge.
It's no surprise the government wouldn't constrain wild-west capitalism but instead expand wild-west surveillance and totalitarianism. Secretly they admire the Chinese role model and want to emulate it. They just want to avoid too much backlash in public opinion. After all, the U.S. are still a democracy, on paper.
Could the United States to stop producing smartphones with spyware-as-OS?
In the word where nobody can spy how is it possible for ByteDance to get their app banned?
What one country stop the other can react. Would it be an option as WhatsApp and YouTube not in china, one can block …
Who wrote this bill? We should applaud them for making it so ridiculous that it loses support immediately.
If this is as bad as some say, why isn't the EFF making a huge deal of it so far?
I'd recommend reading this report by the Australian government, it's very interesting: https://www.aph.gov.au/DocumentStore.ashx?id=a7e2a076-1112-4...
"Our research confirms beyond any plausible doubt that TikTok is owned by ByteDance, ByteDance is a PRC company, and ByteDance is subject to all the influence, guidance and de facto control to which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP, the Party) now subjects all PRC technology companies. We show how the CCP and PRC state agencies (together, the Party-state) have extended their ties into ByteDance to the point that the company can no longer be accurately described as a private enterprise.
These findings draw on previously unexamined sources and contradict many of TikTok’s public statements. The most significant findings, in our view, relate to how TikTok’s capabilities may be integrated with what China’s leader Xi Jinping describes as the Party’s “external discourse mechanisms”."
Who, specifically, is involved in writing the language of this bill? Name them.
Mr. Warner (for himself, Mr. Thune, Ms. Baldwin, Mrs. Fischer, Mr. Manchin, Mr. Moran, Mr. Bennet, Mr. Sullivan, Mrs. Gillibrand, Ms. Collins, Mr. Heinrich, Mr. Romney, and Mrs. Capito) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
Yes, but who is actually creating the text? Who is sitting there and literally choosing the words in the bill? Mark Warner does not have the technical knowledge to write this, and I doubt he has the time either. I want to know who’s thoughts are becoming law in this country.
I’ll dig into it when I get home this evening, but he’s acting as a corporate mouthpiece for sure.
So if I will create SSH tunnel using AWS EC2 to view tiktok, can AWS ban me?
In order to beat China, we need to become something worse than China?
Something worse? China and others bans almost every western social media company. Is the US not allowed to retaliate on those grounds alone? This bill only authorizes the banning of tech companies operated out of western enemy states: China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Cuba and Venezuela (with a caveat).
The international economy is already not free (never has been), so I fail to see how this changes much other than shifting and clarifying some governmental powers. The US has banned Huawei telecommunications equipment, is this all that different other than the fact that it is much more public facing?
What makes the Chinese government problematic is not protectionism or even the great firewall, it is the genocide, the policing of criticism from all sources, the authoritarian single party rule.
You have the right to do all that, but you can't do all that and at the same time claim to be a morally superior, free and open society. Pick one: are your much-espoused values more important, or is revenge more important?
> You have the right to do all that, but you can't do all that and at the same time claim to be a morally superior, free and open society.
Again... in matters of trade and foreign affairs no country (including the US) is completely free and open. I don't think anyone in the US has ever claimed to have completely open international trade policies so not even sure where you are getting that?
Just because this affects an app used by average people doesn't change the facts.
I don't know, but China is not posing fines up to $1M and threatening 20 years in prison + civil forfeiture to just run a VPN.
Also, are you saying genocides is not one of US's main export?
> I don't know, but China is not posing fines up to $1M and threatening 20 years in prison + civil forfeiture to just run a VPN.
Good thing that isn't what is happening here
TikTok is why every free liberal democracy must have a Special Circumstances department which is low key allowed to break all the laws to protect it… Banks was absolutely right.
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The TikTok Ban can be said to be controversal, but to me, it's definitely not to be compared to something akin to a trojan horse.
To stop China we must become China
The "Terminate TikTok on Campus Act of 2023" (H.R. 231) is a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. If enacted, it would prohibit federal funds from being provided to institutions of higher education unless they ban the use of TikTok on electronic devices owned or issued by the institution.
Here's a summary of the main provisions of the bill:
Short Title: The bill is referred to as the "Terminate TikTok on Campus Act of 2023."
Prohibition on Federal Funds: The bill would prohibit federal funding for institutions of higher education that do not develop and implement standards and guidelines banning TikTok on their electronic devices and requiring the removal of TikTok from such devices.
Research Exception: The bill provides an exception for research related to national security, law enforcement, telecommunications, or cybersecurity that is conducted by, supervised by, or authorized by faculty of an institution of higher education.
Definitions: The bill defines "institution of higher education" according to the Higher Education Act of 1965, "electronic device" as a device capable of accessing the internet, and "TikTok" as the social networking service TikTok or any successor application or service developed or provided by ByteDance Limited or an entity owned by ByteDance Limited.
What this means for end users:
If this bill is enacted, students, faculty, and staff at institutions of higher education that receive federal funds would be prohibited from using TikTok on electronic devices owned or issued by the institution, with some exceptions for research purposes. This could impact the use of TikTok as a tool for communication, entertainment, or education on college campuses.
Given your emphasis on fairness, freedom, and privacy, you might want to consider the following aspects of the bill:
Privacy concerns: TikTok has been criticized for its data collection practices, and this bill could be seen as a measure to protect the privacy of students, faculty, and staff at higher education institutions.
Freedom of expression: On the other hand, the bill could be viewed as a limitation on the freedom of expression for members of higher education communities, who would be restricted from using a popular social media platform on institution-owned or issued devices.
Equity and access: The prohibition could disproportionately affect students who rely on institution-provided devices for their personal use, as they would be unable to access TikTok, whereas students with personal devices could continue using the app.
Before taking a stance on the bill, you may want to weigh these factors and consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of such a prohibition for students, faculty, and staff at institutions of higher education.
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It's in everyone's interest for this bill to pass! There's no need for propaganda when we can just read it!
At least the bill is not about saving Silicon Valley Bank.
Actually, it’s another bailout for uncompetitive SV social media platforms.
So, how would the HN crowd have addressed the perceived issue if they were in power?
(1) there is some evidence that TikTok is used to gather information on individuals
(2) that this information makes its way to the Chinese state operatives
(3) that this is perceived to be a security risk
I find it easy to criticize this bill but I also find it hard to come up with a practical improvement over what it does.
> So, how would the HN crowd have addressed the perceived issue if they were in power?
Here's an idea:
For any large social network (at least 250M+ monthly active users) or big tech company to continue operations in the US and if found to have violated the privacy of its users:
Fine them up to $50M to $500M.
Repeated offences should rack up to a $1B fine and failing to comply or to continue such offences should have fines increased into the multi-billions of dollars.
Much better than this bill and even better than an outright ban.
I don't understand why HN allows and abetts the spread of these ludicrous, and frankly dangerous, conspiracy theories.
It seems like a legit debate—no?
If one side is right and the other is wrong, the best thing to do is to post clear information explaining how and why.
Name-calling doesn't help—it just locks things in place without giving anyone a reason to shift. Also it's against the site guidelines: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html.
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