TikTok Banned: 59 Chinese Apps Blocked in India

Two huge nuclear powers in a standoff, with several dead after a border skirmish: What’s the next escalation? Why, firewalling a bunch of smartphone apps, of course—including TikTok.

How else was India supposed to react, once it learned that ByteDance’s TikTok was stealing personal data from citizens? And this on top of a national outcry over misogyny, racism and pedophilia spread by the video app. Not to mention national security fears.

What will the U.S. do? In today’s SB Blogwatch, we want Vine back.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: Bad greenscreen.

Stop the Clock

What’s the craic? Manish Singh reports—“India bans TikTok, dozens of other Chinese apps”:

 The Indian government [is] banning 59 apps developed by Chinese firms over concerns that these apps were engaging in activities that threatened “national security.” [It] is the latest standoff between … the world’s two most populated nations …  following a deadly clash at the border earlier this month that stoked historical tensions.

Anti-China sentiment has been gaining mindshare in India in recent weeks, since more than 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a military clash in the Himalayas. … TikTok has been facing backlash in India since the second half of May after users unearthed and shared numerous recent TikTok videos on Twitter that appeared to promote domestic violence, animal cruelty, racism, child abuse and objectification of women.

The smartphone market in India … is the world’s second largest. … ByteDance’s TikTok … counts India as its biggest overseas market. … 27 of these 59 apps were among the top 1,000 Android apps in India last month.

Google [and] Apple  … have traditionally complied with such app removal requests.

Aaaand, there it is. Zak Doffman—“TikTok Ban Suddenly Hits Millions Of Users”:

 Few if any apps better reflect our time in coronavirus lockdowns than this bitesize video sharing platform, but with great power comes great responsibility, and, so the arguments run, TikTok has totally failed the test. … There was a storm of publicity last week, when TikTok was found by Apple to be secretly accessing users’ clipboards.

The backlash was fast and furious. Multiple Indian politicians jumped on the story, putting pressure on the government and the country’s cyber regulator to act. … The platform assured that it had been fixed. Apparently not the case. That has undermined confidence at a time when other serious security warnings are being raised.

The U.S. government, in particular, continues to express concerns about the use of the app by so many young people. … And with the platform reportedly being used to undermine President Trump’s public reach in the country … one can expect to see questions raised … later today as to whether similar action might be warranted.

TikTok told me, “[We are] committed to working with the [Indian] government to demonstrate our dedication to user security and our commitment to the country.”

But why? It’s complicated. To explain, Whateverthisis brings us … whatever this is: [You’re fired—Ed.]

 This isn’t about technology spying. This is about geopolitics.

China and India have been disputing their border for decades, and recently it flared up again … in the Himalayas with 20 Indian soldiers dead and an unconfirmed number of Chinese dead. India’s decided to take an aggressive stance and is countering on multiple fronts, TikTok banning is one of them.

This whole issue is extremely complicated. It has to do with 150 year old treaties, multiple countries and governments, tribalism and nationalism between Tibetans, Indians, Chinese, and Pakistanis, and the multiple inter-related ties between the two nuclear armed countries which are the largest population centers and the 2nd and 3rd largest economies in the world, both of which have extremely strong, ancient histories and traditions.

This issue of TikTok being banned is just one tiny slice in a very complex pie.

With an alternative angle on the same idea, here’s Haryana:

 I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that it happened now, right after India had its *** handed to it by China, eh? Purely coincidential.

But what of the tchotchke industry? nrambo is on the rampage:

 Gotta give it to the Chinese, they found and are actively exploiting a fatal flaw in the capitalist system: the profit motive. … Sure, it’s great for getting people out of bed and giving them a motivating force! But it also makes us do dumb stuff, like doing business with a near-totalitarian regime that will … steal your intellectual property, effectively making you sell your soul.

Yeah, but Facebook and Twitter are just as bad, right? Wrong, says XXongo:

 The difference is that TikTok is actively evil with built-in back doors and spying. … Facebook and Twitter are merely passively evil.

But whatabout the U.S.’s spying record? Respect Deputy Cartman’s authority:

 1. We don’t demand Tik-Tok and other companies partner with US companies or else refuse to let them operate within our borders.
2. We don’t limit the number of movies imported from China and demand they be edited.
3. We don’t block our users from Wikipedia, Slack, etc.
4. We don’t require pretty much any large company to obey the government’s whims. Post pictures of Xinjiang concentration camps on Imgur and Twitter vs Weibo and see what happens. …
5. We aren’t building out entire islands from some rocks close to Mexico and then playing leapfrog to expand our territorial claims.
6. If I go in front of the US Congress with photos of American atrocities against native Americans, or a black man screaming “I can’t breathe” as a police officer chokes the life out of them, I will be allowed to protest, show my pictures, etc. If I go to the Great Hall of the People with photos from Tiananmen Square or Xinjiang “reeducation camps,” welp, see ya in a few years. Maybe.

China’s government ****ing sucks and you should not engage in whataboutism regarding the US’s government compared to it.

And blueseapete goes off on a sweary tirade:

 You dumb as **** young ****wits in America do realize Tik ****ing Tok is a Chinese intelligence tool, don’t you, ya ****ing imbeciles? And, just in case, you do realize USA and China are actually at war right now?

****ing idiots, please don’t breed.

Meanwhile, dave-man wants to go further:

 Not far enough. … Ban Zoom.

And Finally:

I see ’keyed people

Previously in And Finally

You have been reading SB Blogwatch by Richi Jennings. Richi curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites … so you don’t have to. Hate mail may be directed to @RiCHi or [email protected]. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE. 30.

Image sauce: DonkeyHotey (cc:by)

Featured eBook
Managing the AppSec Toolstack

Managing the AppSec Toolstack

The best cybersecurity defense is always applied in layers—if one line of defense fails, the next should be able to thwart an attack, and so on. Now that DevOps teams are taking  more responsibility for application security by embracing DevSecOps processes, that same philosophy applies to security controls. The challenge many organizations are facing now ... Read More
Security Boulevard

Richi Jennings

Richi Jennings is a foolish independent industry analyst, editor, and content strategist. A former developer and marketer, he’s also written or edited for Computerworld, Microsoft, Cisco, Micro Focus, HashiCorp, Ferris Research, Osterman Research, Orthogonal Thinking, Native Trust, Elgan Media, Petri, Cyren, Agari, Webroot, HP, HPE, NetApp on Forbes and CIO.com. Bizarrely, his ridiculous work has even won awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors, ABM/Jesse H. Neal, and B2B Magazine.

richi has 420 posts and counting.See all posts by richi