Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Tuesday, July 7.

1. The end of the TikTok outside of China?

Tiktok on the Google Play Store.

TikTok is in the firing line, along with other Chinese social media apps, according to the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

In a TV cable news interview, Pompeo responded to remarks questioning if the US would ban TikTok, following TikTok being banned in India, and fresh discourse in Australian politics about similarly banning the social media app for its data collection.

Here’s the transcript of Pompeo’s response to the question of a US ban:

  • “We are taking this very seriously and we are certainly looking at it. We have worked on this very issue for a long time, whether it’s the problem of having Huawei technology in your infrastructure — we’ve gone all over the world and we are making real progress getting that out. we declared ZTE a danger to American national security.”
  • “With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too. I don’t want to get out in front of the President [Donald Trump], but it’s something we’re looking at.”
  • When asked if Americans should download the app, Pompeo said, “Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
  • In watching the video a few times, Pompeo appeared to be caught by surprise by the direct nature of the question. The angle of the Fox News questioning was deliberately provocative and clearly represents political motivations, not just security.
  • And not wanting to “get ahead” of President Trump implies not wanting to be seen to be first to mention a ban on TikTok. Take that for what you will.

TikTok’s response:

  • In response to Pompeo’s comments, a spokesperson told CNBC: “TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the US. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”
  • TikTok says it’s also planning to exit Hong Kong and stop operating because of China’s establishment of new national security laws in the region.
  • (Google, Facebook, and Twitter will also change operations in fulfilling data requests)

But…:

  • TikTok has had an American CEO, ex-Disney exec Kevin Mayer, for exactly 50 days, but has existed since 2016.
  • And data security in terms of operating in China with the Chinese government able to surveil data without not request are what multiple security experts have suggested for years.
  • And Pompeo may just have been mentioning possibilities about security and a ban, in a possible leverage play with China, which already doesn’t allow for US social media apps like Twitter and Facebook in that country.
  • TikTok reached two billion downloads earlier this year, with a reported 175 million in the US.
  • Concerns may be raised about user data collection moving from China’s ByteDance to the Chinese government, but the other angle is that TikTok is too successful for the likes of the US, and its own tech giants challenged by TikTok’s rise.
  • And TikTok really is incredibly successful. Mentioned on here in the past, it’s already hugely influential in how music charts, memes, trends, and the infinite sub-groups of fringe groups that have found a place to hang out together in TikTok.
  • Any ban will hurt Gen Z’s social life. It may help the likes of Instagram Reels, and Snapchat.
  • And it’ll hurt ByteDance: already the ban in India was said to cost the company $6B. The more lucrative US market could be multiples of this if a long-term, permaban was enacted.

2. Galaxy Note 20 news: the Note 20 Ultra has been spotted in the wild with supposed real-world pictures emerge, and Note 20 Plus features were confirmed in a FCC listing, showing a new LED View Cover and the S-Pen, of course (Android Authority). Also: Samsung Electronics flags second-quarter profit jump on solid chip demand, one-off gains from Apple (Reuters).


3. Poco M2 Pro announced with big battery, fast-charging, under $200: it’s a better Redmi Note 9 Pro (Android Authority).


4.  The LG ‘Wing’: Everything we know so far about LG’s wild rotating phone (Android Authority).


5. Super-efficient video format could make streaming 8K movies more practical: H.266/VCC, a boost over H.265/HEVC (Android Authority).


6. Keyboard and mouse gaming support on iPad OS coming soon (r/apple).


7. Hamilton musical (acclaimed by all!) drives up Disney Plus app downloads 74% over the weekend in US (Variety).


8. Microsoft announces Xbox Series X games event for July 23rd: Halo Infinite the likely star (The Verge).


9. Curiosity rover starts its ‘summer road trip’ to its next Martian destination, dodging a wide patch of sand along the way (NASA).


10. Here’s a 1:60 scale Boeing 777 made entirely from manila folders. Mind-boggling. (lucaiaconistewart.com)


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