September 18, 2020

My kids weren't going to vote for Trump anyway, obviously, but their less politically obsessed friends now have a reason to GOTV. NBC News:

Commerce said in a news release that U.S. mobile platforms will be prohibited from distributing the apps, meaning new downloads will be blocked.

But TikTok will not disappear entirely on Sunday. The app will still work for at least a few more weeks. Commerce said that crucial services that TikTok relies on, such as internet hosting and transit services, will not be prohibited until Nov. 12 β€” pushing the deadline to after the election.

WeChat, however, faces a full ban on Sunday.

This decision is more than just politically stupid. Several tech-types have pointed out that by banning updates, the so-called administration is simply banning security patches that make the existing app safer.

As my colleague Jamie noted in an email:

I got a feeling Google and Apple will be heading to court today to get this blocked. Here’s the thing about banning app store downloads – it actually makes users LESS safe. If one of those apps find a security hole, which is very, VERY common, and they put out a patch for it, there will be no way for U.S. consumers to update. All updates come through the app stores, which will be banned from allowing downloads. So yeah, unpatched, insecure apps will be forced to remain running because of Trump.

TikTok will still be allowed to run until November 12th (imagine that!). Just no new downloads. WeChat, apparently they are ordering all servers shut down. Of course nothing says they have to us U.S. servers and the U.S. has no way to block people from accessing servers overseas. We don’t have a government ran firewall like China or Iran.

So Trump and Wilbur Ross are flipped out about data collection from a Chinese video app, but data collection from FACEBOOK? Not so much.

PS. Never forget!

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