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Posts Tagged ‘national security’

Tiktok – How Trump Failed America

October 18th, 2020 No comments

Donald Trump was elected with a mandate to make deals and “drain the swamp.”  I had my doubts he could make a difference in the geopolitical realm.  But even on economic matters, he has not had a lot of success. His Tiktok saga reveals just how far he has left people down.

[This article is cross posted at the Saker; a short, abridged version of this article was initially published on the South China Morning Post.]

Trump’s demand for a fire sale of Tiktok hit a legal wall two weekends ago when a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction.  Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee, questioned whether a President had the legal authority to so broadly ban and restrict a “personal communication” and “informational” service such as Tiktok on “national security” grounds. 

But even without the injunction, Trump’s vaunted deal-making skills were fast morphing into a freak show.  From the beginning, Trump made unsubstantiated accusation that Tiktok was being used as a platform for Chinese espionage even when the CIA found no evidence of Chinese espionage.  The EFF – which traditionally has been critical of China’s Internet companies – has also concluded that there is no evidence that TikTok is less secure than other social media apps. 

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How would this story be reported if it were China asking Apple for a way to get into a Terrorist’s phone?

February 17th, 2016 15 comments

Interesting story from NYT today titled “Judge Tells Apple to Help Unlock San Bernardino Gunman’s iPhone.”

Here is an excerpt:

WASHINGTON — A judge in California on Tuesday ordered Apple to help the F.B.I. unlock an iPhone used by one of the attackers in the assault in San Bernardino that killed 14 people in December.

The ruling handed the F.B.I. a potentially important victory in its long-running battle with Apple and other Silicon Valley companies over the government’s ability to get access to encrypted data in investigations. Apple has maintained that requiring it to provide the “keys” to its technology would compromise the security of the information of hundreds of millions of users.

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Case Study on Democratic Self-Governance: NSA Oversight, a Straight Game of Poker?

September 7th, 2013 9 comments

poker_2661772bIf there is a religion in the modern world, it is the fanatic belief in democratic self-governance.  From a philosophical perspective, the legitimacy of democratic self-government requires the notion of a public forum – a democratic corpus, a public sphere formed by citizens, if you will – to frame, debate and discuss political issues and events, free from “government interference.”  This might be called a public sphere of privacy (privacy from government), rather than a private sphere of privacy (privacy from other citizens), and is essential to the working of a democratic government. It is of utmost importance to keep this public sphere vibrant and pure because in today’s paradigm, all governments have a tendency to to intrude, dominate, and control for its benefit at the expense of that of the people.  And a democratic government means little if people’s thoughts and voices can be manipulated, coerced, manufactured, or censored.  A belief in the vibrancy of the democratic corpus to deliver good governance (with that, justice, prosperity, “freedom,” and peace) represents the very soul of the modern democracy religion.

Yet, when you look around you and think for a minute – things just don’t add up.  The latest NSA revelations provides a useful case study. Read more…