Josh Hawley Isn't 'Helping' When It Comes To TikTok

from the sound-and-fury,-signifying-nothing dept

It’s the dumb saga that only seems to get dumber. Earlier this week, we noted that Trump’s dumb and arguably unconstitutional order banning TikTok had resulted in (surprise) Trump friend and Oracle boss Larry Ellison nabbing a cozy little partnership for his fledgling cloud hosting business. Granted the deal itself does absolutely nothing outside of providing Oracle a major client. It’s more cronyism and heist than serious adult policy, yet countless outlets still somehow framed the entire thing as somehow meaningful, ethical, and based in good faith (it’s none of those things).

Senator Josh Hawley, one of the biggest TikTok pearl clutchers in Congress, obviously didn’t much like the deal. Hawley sent an open letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin calling the deal “completely unacceptable” and demanding an outright ban:

Hawley’s major complaint is correct in that the deal does absolutely nothing to thwart Chinese intelligence from collecting TikTok data since ByteDance would still own TikTok and control all algorithms:

“CFIUS should promptly reject any Oracle-ByteDance collaboration, and send the ball back to ByteDance?s court so that the company can come up with a more acceptable solution. ByteDance can still pursue a full sale of TikTok, its code, and its algorithm to a U.S. company, so that the app can be rebuilt from the ground up to remove any trace of CCP influence.”

Here’s the thing that Hawley, and every other TikTok pearl clutcher can’t or won’t understand: even a full ban of TikTok doesn’t meaningfully thwart Chinese intelligence. Why? U.S. privacy and security standards are a joke. Sectors like telecom, adtech, and apps are such a poorly regulated dumpster fire (when they see any oversight at all), China can simply buy or steal this (and so much more) data from an absolute ocean of dodgy information brokers and middlemen.

Banning TikTok to protect U.S. consumer privacy is like spitting on a wildfire then patting yourself on the back for being an incredible firefighter. The real solutions to these problems require taking a far smarter, broader, more holistic view. That means passing a meaningful privacy law, shoring up election reform, adequately funding privacy regulators, passing some standards for the IOT, adequately securing decade-old U.S. network vulnerabilities, mandating transparency in the adtech, telecom, and other sectors, and better policing the collection and sale of U.S. location and other data. Fix the broader problem(s), and TikTok becomes a detail.

Hawley not only doesn’t seem to understand that, he’s actively opposed to many of these broader reform efforts.

Hawley, much like Marsha Blackburn or Tom Cotton, oddly adores freaking out when China is involved, but is either absent from — or detrimental to — efforts to shore op overall U.S. privacy and security standards and oversight. Blackburn, Cotton, or Hawley don’t make so much as a peep when U.S. telecom providers get mired in privacy scandals. They’ve said nary a word about the dodgy adtech sector and the way it sells access to U.S. user location data to any moron with a nickel. They’ve actively opposed election security reform, adequately funding or staffing the FTC, or passing even the most basic of privacy rules.

And yet when a Chinese company develops a product that outperforms the best Silicon Valley has to offer, there are months upon months of absolute and total “security and privacy” hysteria. It’s just weird how, for some folks, security and privacy only seem to matter when foreigners are involved. It’s performative, xenophobic, wildly inconsistent, and largely just stupid. Either you genuinely care about U.S. security and privacy or you don’t. Showing up late, crying about China, then disappearing entirely when broader solutions are recommended isn’t “helping,” it’s performative histrionics.

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: oracle, tiktok

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Comments on “Josh Hawley Isn't 'Helping' When It Comes To TikTok”

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PaulT (profile) says:

"Showing up late, crying about China, then disappearing entirely when broader solutions are recommended isn’t "helping," it’s performative histrionics."

It’s the typical cycle – do nothing until a cause becomes popular or newsworthy, make some public noises about "doing something" when it’s likely to get headlines or votes, then go back to ignoring the issue when it becomes less newsworthy and/or the real solutions require complicated, fundamental actions that don’t make for good soundbites.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"if they are doing something they think needs to be stopped why don’t they ban the action?"

Because the timing and activity on this issue suggests that the supposed security problems are not what’s triggered the attack on TikTok. It’s because TikTok users embarrassed Trump and he demanded retribution. Shutting them down would have been ideal, but forcing them to route their service through an inferior service provided by one of his major political donors is good enough for now. The claims of it being for security is just the excuse used for his action to be legal.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Just because the clock is right does not mean it's working

That he may be correct in saying the deal is rotten does not mean he deserves any praise for opposing it for his own ends, though there certainly is some humor to be found in him calling for Trump to stop the deal given who’s been pushing so hard for it, as doing so indicates either that his opposition is nothing but dishonest performance art for the gullible(again) or that he’s so blindingly stupid that he had no idea who was pushing the deal and who stands to benefit from it.

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Cyndy (profile) says:

China does not need to steal anything...

Be sure to check out the last link for the latest stunt by our " allies"

Israel accused of selling US secrets to China

Congressional Report: Israel Arms Sales to China Concern U.S.

Report: Israel Passes U.S. Military Technology to China

Israel’s Support for the Chinese Military Could Harm the United States

Israel Is Giving China the Keys to Its Largest Port – and the U.S. Navy May Abandon Israel

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Snowflake Central

Or is any scrutiny of Israel anti-semitic?

Yes. At least here on TD. Any mention of any specific race, color or creed automatically makes you a racist regardless of context. As you just experienced, you don’t even have to directly mention a specific race, color or creed. Simply talking about the government of a nation made up primarily of a specific protected group makes you racist against that group. Nevermind that it’s the government and not the people you’re talking about.

While the articles themselves are largely non-political or at least non-partisan the commenters here are largely ultra-left-wing (at least some of the most vocal ones) and will attack anything they can to avoid confronting the issues. For your original post to pass muster you should have included some links to articles talking about other other "ally" nations sharing secrets with China or at least sprinkle in a few of the countless data breeches China could access. TikTok is the least of our worries and we all know it.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4

Simply talking about the government of a nation made up primarily of a specific protected group makes you racist against that group.

Criticizing the government of Israel doesn’t make someone anti-Semitic per se. But when someone criticizes the Israeli government in a comments section for an article that isn’t about Israel, the Israeli government, Jewish people, or Judaism — and for seemingly no reason other than to bitch about Jews? Well, that kind of play tends to give away the game.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Snowflake Central

Indeed. Criticising the Israeli government on a story about general global corruption, about the middle east, and so on? Fair game. Keep the criticism factual and targeted at the government rather than the people, and it’s a good discussion to have.

Criticising them in a story that’s specifically about the Chinese government, where they have not been mentioned or alluded to at any point before you commented with a strangely handy list of links about them? You might be hinting at unsavoury ulterior motives, and will be treated as such.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"Or is any scrutiny of Israel anti-semitic?"

In a subject consisting of US–>China relations it is certainly leveraged bigotry when you decide to present a long list of irrelevancies about what <insert minority A> is doing.

It’s as racist as when a debate about the proper relationship between law enforcement and citizenry is derailed by a long insert about "all the bad stuff the niggers are doing" by some random alt-right troll.

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