Tik Tok Ban

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fibar

New member
Sep 27, 2020
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Interesting; Steve and Leo kind of poo-pooed various Republican politicians for banning Tik Tok apps from government phones on 22.13.12 SN, kind of implying Democrats wouldn't do such a thing? the US Senate unanimously voted to ban Tik Tok app.
 
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It's a political "vote grab" rather than anything common sense. Do they not realize all the American computers that have League of Legends on them (also from ByteDance) and maybe they're stealing secrets too... etc...??
 
It's a political "vote grab" rather than anything common sense. Do they not realize all the American computers that have League of Legends on them (also from ByteDance) and maybe they're stealing secrets too... etc...??
agreed, if one is a politician, that is a common occurance
 
I absolutely agree with the banning of all such apps IF they are proven to be spying on our citizens and sending important data to our enemies. This is pretty much a proven fact with tik tock as far as I know. Now, how you determine such facts and prove them and who has authority to "ban apps" is up for debate. Maybe we should ban all IOT devices that don't pass a security certification.

May your bits be stable and your interfaces be fast. :cool: Ron
 
CBC reported recently that Canadian intelligence officials were concerned about Tik Tok. The Trudeau government isn't exactly a favourite of the US far-right (although the government and intelligence services aren't necessarily on the same page). Canada - China relations are strained to say the least.
Just a note: The FBI labeling Tik Tok as being "of concern" is of more significance than you or me being concerned about such and such. I have total respect for Steve's technical expertise. I appreciate Leo's insight. I have a number of experts I look to to help inform my opinion on geopolitics, human rights and law.
Edited to sound like slightly less of a jack-ass. Sorry Steve.
 
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I'm just an average user, like everyone else here that's not on staff. I have strong political opinions which differ from probably half the people here, since that's the way the country is divided. Still, it's a good idea not to start political cat fights. On some things we might have to agree to disagree. What may be more interesting in the context of this thread is, are our apps spying on us and what, if anything can be done about it. I would appreciate it, sometimes, if @Steve and Leo would be more sympathetic to the privacy concerns of the paranoid. Many times, conspiracy theories turn into conspiracy facts.

May your bits be stable and your interfaces be fast. :cool: Ron
 
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The real problem is that the platforms seem very bad at constraining apps. It should never be the case that an app can have info I don't want to share. The fact that there is a perceived risk to personal data, is a fault of the platform. I wouldn't choose to share my location, my video or audio, my contact into (or contacts), my phone number, or any phone ID with an app like Tik Tok that is just supposed to be about entertainment. Now as for the risk of social or political engineering or propaganda, it's unclear how you could prevent TikTok from doing that if they were directed to.
 
For what it's worth, when I install an app on android, I go into the permissions screen and the special access screen and turn off everything I don't think the app should have access to. Things like, as @PHolder said, microphone, video, contacts, location (actually, I keep that off generally), etc. I also turn off things like administrative privileges and wifi control so it can't turn my wifi on and off. If I have the wifi off, I want it to stay off. No phoning the mother ship when I think I'm radio silent. Some apps will barf when you do that and won't run. Sometimes I go into the app settings screen and terminate an app after I run it so it doesn't keep running. Also, unfortunately, something may legitimately need access to your camera, microphone, file system, and network, in the case of Tik Tock, etc. Then, it's very hard to prevent them from doing something nefarious or even know they're doing it. I also don't allow apps to auto update, since updates often break things or add advertisements or bogus terms of service, etc. If there's update coming, I want to personally approve it. One file manager program, upon an update, posted a notice saying they would share information about programs I run and things I do with third parties. Yuck! In general, I try not to run many apps at all for these reasons. If the tablet or phone allows it, I go into boot startup control and disable most apps from autostarting at boot. Also, if you see a great game you can download for free, that's being heavily advertised on TV, YOU are the product. They can't buy all those TV ads for free and they can't run huge server farms for free. They're making money somewhere, probably selling YOU to the highest bidder.

May your bits be stable and your interfaces be fast. :cool: Ron
 
We know (from listening to SN) how certain regimes have been able to game Facebook. Troll farms creating fake accounts to espouse various inflammatory opinions which the algorithm is all too eager to spread, for example. What I want to know is how much more damage might a malign actor do if it also owned the algorithm?
Also, tangentially, following on Steve's anecdote about the judge with the green oxygen tank who convinced him to never again be an expert witness, can we trust the judicial system to protect our rights from an NSO Group armed law enforcement agency?
 
Facebook on Android has been my nemesis for privacy violations. I created an account on Facebook, due to a couple of ham radio devices I have that have NO support on the web, except ONLY on a Facebook group ("How did we get to this?" I wonder). I locked Facebook down pretty thoroughly, disallowing any followers, etc., and when asked, DENIED it access to my contacts.

So, guess what it kept doing? That's right, it kept showing me possible friends FROM MY CONTACTS that I might like to follow. So much for saying no. Facebook just ignored my preferences.

This was on a previous Android release, before the OS starting asking you about app permissions. Also, on those previous Samsung phones, Facebook was in the ROM, so it couldn't be deleted!

Since moving to more recent releases, I've denied access at the OS level to my contacts, etc., and I've yet to see Facebook ask me recently for permission to hook up with any of my contacts. Not like they don't keep trying, though, I bet.
 
So, guess what it kept doing? That's right, it kept showing me possible friends FROM MY CONTACTS that I might like to follow. So much for saying no. Facebook just ignored my preferences.
It is possible that FB got your details from one of your contacts address book, rather than the other way round. On the other hand, you only need to leave that access open for a few seconds and they will slurp it up.
 
Yes, this is the standard MO of spammers. Frequently they'll come back later and edit their posts to include [spam] links. This is the reason why the mods engaged on a thread lockdown earlier. If you see spam links from them (or others) please use the report feature,
 
And both have only a single post, mere minutes after being registered.
Creating a post minutes after registering is not unusual. It would be expected. But, you've got a point about the message content. Makes you wonder. I haven't played with chatGPT. I understand it has strong political bias, probably because of who programmed it. Just because a bot has access to gigabytes of knowledge doesn't make it any more reliable than a human. Just because it mimics human thought doesn't mean it can think. Just because it looks like God's creation in a very limited way doesn't mean it's alive. And, just because it can make fast decisions doesn't mean they're GOOD decisions or APPROPRIATE decisions. When bots start influencing humans or making automated decisions that affect, or destroy, humans' lives, we have to ask if the bot has an agenda because of the way it was designed. I think we should make it illegal for any bot anywhere to make any decision that meaningfully or materially affects a person's life without human intervention.

May your bits be stable and your interfaces be fast. :cool: Ron
 
Just because it mimics human thought doesn't mean it can think. Just because it looks like God's creation in a very limited way doesn't mean it's alive. And, just because it can make fast decisions doesn't mean they're GOOD decisions or APPROPRIATE decisions.
I found Stephen Wolfram's recent Q&A about ChatGPT informative. Particularly from around the midpoint on, he does a good job of explaining how such an AI can produce such seemingly human like text.
Swinging back to the OP, first of all, I thought Steve's final comments on the TikTok ban were right on. Basically, we're fixating on TikTok while every computer, phone, camera and IoT device is made in China . We're missing the forest for the trees.
Going forward, as AI becomes more and more integrated into the technologies we rely on, it will be up to us to try and peek behind the curtain to see just how each individual AI makes its decisions. Not just who controls the data or sneaks what chip into where, but who designs the algorithm. Who dictates the weightings. What are their biases, their agendas. How does that affect what the AI produces.
To quote the great Tony Stark, "Magic is just science we don't understand yet." (I guess some other guy might have said it first.)
 
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it will be up to us to try and peek behind the curtain to see just how each individual AI makes its decisions
Yes, but, the AI owners don't want you peeking. If I may pick on the financial industry, I recently was trying to purchase some gift cards for Christmas. Now granted, the company wasn't in my home state, and I was doing several transactions that weren't normal for me. But, I had the debit card number, the security code, the zip code, etc., all legitimate. Visa's big computer in the sky just DECIDED to shut me down. No phone call. No humans. No interaction. Just "Sorry, your transaction failed. Try later". In another case, I was trying to send a critical and time sensitive payment to someone by Zelle. It just failed. Again, no phone call. Nothing. Not even a descriptive error message. I had to go to another account at another bank to complete it. That failed too, but at least it gave me a phone number to call. I verified my identity and confirmed that I wanted to proceed and they sent it through. In deference to the OP of the thread, the same concepts apply to apps like Tik Tok. The algorithm determines if you can post something, how to rank it, maybe whether to ban you, and what you can see. And, they NEVER show you what's behind the curtain. We're going into strange times.

May your bits be stable and your interfaces be fast. :cool: Ron
 
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