Archive for March 10, 2023

TikTok Has A New Problem…. An Employee Is Fighting It On Capitol Hill With Allegations That China Can See Users Data

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 10, 2023 by itnerd

TikTok has a bunch of problems in a bunch of places at the moment. But its problems in the US have just gotten worse. Here’s how that is the case:

In an exclusive interview with The Washington Post, the former employee, who worked for six months in the company’s Trust and Safety division ending in early 2022, said the issues could leave data from TikTok’s more than 100 million U.S. users exposed to China-based employees of its parent company ByteDance, even as the company races to implement new safety rules walling off domestic user information.

His allegations threaten to undermine this $1.5 billion restructuring plan, known as Project Texas, which TikTok has promoted widely in Washington as a way to neutralize the risk of data theft or misuse by the Chinese government. 

They could also fuel speculation that the wildly popular short-video app remains vulnerable to having its video-recommendation algorithm and user data distorted for propaganda or espionage. U.S. authorities have not shared evidence that the Chinese government has accessed TikTok’s data or code.

Well, if you’re TikTok you’re thinking that you’re in deep trouble here. They’ve already pushed back on his claims. But at this point, nothing the company says is going to make lawmakers on Capitol Hill feel different and a ban via the RESTRICT act is likely. And that ban is likely to be copied by other countries which means that TikTok could disappear from millions of phones in short order.

It sucks to be TikTok.

Belgium Bans TikTok On Government Phones

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 10, 2023 by itnerd

Belgium becomes the latest country to ban TikTok as news is out that Belgian federal government employees will no longer be allowed to use the Chinese-owned video app TikTok on their work phones, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said today:

De Croo said the Belgian national security council had warned of the risks associated with the large amounts of data collected by TikTok, which is owned by Chinese firm ByteDance, and the fact that the company is required to cooperate with Chinese intelligence services. “That is the reality,” the prime minister said in a statement. “That’s why it is logical to forbid the use of TikTok on phones provided by the federal government. The safety of our information must prevail.” The European Commission and the European Parliament last month banned TikTok from staff phones due to growing concerns about the company, and whether China’s government could harvest users’ data or advance its interests.

It’s now getting to the point where I am wondering who is next to ban TikTok. Clearly there is momentum building around the world to get TikTok off of government phones. Thus you have to wonder when and not if that’s going to spread to everyone else. Perhaps that could happen as soon as the RESTRICT act is passed in the US?

The Issues With Rogers Continue To Drag On…. And The Silence From The Telco Is Deafening

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 10, 2023 by itnerd

I’ve been covering the various issues that Rogers has had over the last week or more, along with providing a tip on how to get your Rogers email via a browser until Rogers resolves their issues. But one thing that really has shocked me is the lack of communication from Rogers about this. Customers are having to call in and wait over two hours to get someone to tell them that Rogers email service is down, or they need to factory reset their Rogers modem to get back on line, or whatever. I really don’t understand (though I have my suspicions which I will get to in a moment) why Rogers isn’t trying to communicate more to their customers as their silence is only going to create a situation where their customers not only don’t trust the telco, but are more likely to leave for the competition.

First to how the customers feel. Rogers when they had their massive outage last July promised to be “committed to Canadians”. But as it stands, it seems to be more of a marketing slogan rather than something that Rogers is actually serious about based on these Tweets:

And that last Tweet is what I would like to focus on. The cynic in me believes that Rogers isn’t communicating because they’re scared that this will scuttle their attempt to merge with Shaw as these latest problems would cast that merger in a bad light. I have no proof that this is the case. But I will say that Rogers in my experience has had decent customer service in the past. And from what I have seen in the last week or so, this has been a complete 180 from that. Which makes you wonder if trying to get the merger with Shaw over the finish line is the reason for their silence on this.

Whatever the reason is for Rogers simply deciding not to communicate about this outage with their customers, I can say this. Competitors such as Bell and Telus better be ready for an influx of Rogers customers. Because I think at this point it’s safe to say that Rogers silence to date is going to drive customers to them out of frustration. Because any good will that Rogers had left with their customer base after the July 2022 outage is now gone, and Rogers customers have had enough.