Physical Address

304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124

TikTok Might Be Working on a Contingency Plan

Tech News: TikTok Might Be Working on a Contingency Plan

Timing Breakdown

  • 00:04 – 00:25: Introduction to the tech news podcast episode.
  • 00:25 – 00:47: Discussion on TikTok’s Project Texas plan and its implications.
  • 00:47 – 01:09: Details on the proposed government oversight and control over TikTok.
  • 01:09 – 01:30: Rejection of the plan by the White House and its potential impact.
  • 01:30 – 01:54: Alternative actions taken by Congress regarding TikTok’s ownership.
  • 01:54 – 02:15: TikTok’s independent recommendation algorithm project.
  • 02:15 – 02:39: Dispute over the existence and purpose of TikTok’s new algorithm project.
  • 02:39 – 03:00: Analysis of the technological and economic challenges of TikTok’s divestiture.
  • 03:00 – 03:21: Security firm Black Lotus Labs’ report on Windstream router failures.
  • 03:21 – 03:42: Investigation into the cause of the router failures.
  • 03:42 – 04:06: Speculation on the nature and origin of the malware attack.
  • 04:06 – 04:29: Concerns about the unknown aspects of the Windstream attack.
  • 04:29 – 04:49: General advice on router security and maintenance.
  • 04:49 – 05:13: Report on the takedown of the world’s largest botnet by US authorities.
  • 05:13 – 05:34: Details on the botnet’s operations and fraudulent activities.
  • 05:34 – 05:55: International cooperation in the takedown operation.
  • 05:55 – 06:15: Arrest and potential sentencing of the botnet operator.
  • 06:15 – 06:35: NSA’s advice on smartphone security.
  • 06:35 – 06:58: Importance of regularly rebooting smartphones for security.
  • 06:58 – 07:18: Meta’s identification and removal of influence campaigns using AI.
  • 07:18 – 07:40: Details on the origin and methods of the influence campaigns.
  • 07:40 – 08:04: Discussion on the sophistication and future potential of AI in influence campaigns.
  • 08:04 – 08:25: OpenAI’s report on AI-driven influence campaigns.
  • 08:25 – 08:46: Analysis of the limited impact of these AI-driven campaigns.
  • 08:46 – 09:10: Concerns about the future sophistication of AI in influence operations.
  • 09:10 – 09:32: Introduction to Fable Studio’s AI-powered platform, Showrunner.
  • 09:32 – 09:54: Potential and ethical concerns of AI-generated television series.
  • 09:54 – 10:14: Instagram’s use of user data to train AI models.
  • 10:14 – 10:37: Limitations and concerns about opting out of Instagram’s data usage.
  • 10:37 – 10:57: Meta’s potentially misleading opt-out process for EU users.
  • 10:57 – 11:19: FAA’s clearance for Amazon’s drone deliveries.
  • 11:19 – 11:40: Implications of the FAA’s decision on Amazon’s delivery operations.
  • 11:40 – 12:01: Changes to Twitch’s Safety Advisory Council.
  • 12:01 – 12:22: Potential consequences of Twitch’s decision to disband the council.
  • 12:22 – 12:43: Spotify’s refund policy for the discontinued Car Thing product.
  • 12:43 – 13:04: End of ICQ service and its historical significance.

Introduction to the Tech News Podcast Episode

This episode of the Tech Stuff podcast involves the discussion of different current tech-based news by Jonathan Strickland, which starts with the most recent news on the TikTok project regarding the United States and their response toward the national security issues created by the said particular social network.

Jonathan recounts that Project Texas

Project Texas, whereby TikTok offered full government vigilance for US politicians, from appointing board members to giving the country access to the source code, was rejected by the White House as still inadequate for national security. Now, Congress has passed legislation that could compel TikTok to sell itself out of its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, or potentially even be banned across the country. The news is indicative of the increasing scrutiny and pressure that the app is under here in the U.S.

The Independent Algorithm Project of TikTok

Reuters has reported that TikTok has been developing a different type of recommendation algorithm separately from ByteDance’s Douyin. Scoping a project out to do something here as a potential contingency in case it is hypothetically forced to split demonstrates the mentality of the company in how it’s planning and positioning itself for the worst while still fighting the force.

The Challenges of Divesting TikTok

Jonathan goes on to break down the challenges of the probable divestiture of TikTok and notes that it will be challenging technically and economically. It technically can be done but has financial and logistical obstacles that are quite difficult to let it pass.

Windstream Router Failures and Malware Attack

More than half a million Windstream customers, in October 2023, were affected by the failure of routers leading up to the stoppage of internet. Black Lotus Labs go on to include this failure being due to Malware, though how the attack started and spiraled is not clear, and has left the world in the dark about future possibilities of this form of vulnerability.

Overall Advice on Router Security

The segment then offers some general cybersecurity advice, reminding viewers to change default passwords and turn their routers on and off periodically to help prevent attacks. This is a worthwhile exercise in self-defense, though such precautions offer little comfort in the face of more sophisticated threats.

Takedown of the World’s Largest Botnet

It was being used for a $6 billion COVID insurance fraud, making it the world’s largest botnet, seized by the US authorities and partners. The global operation is a testament to the nationwide work that is required in order to prevent large-scale cybercrimes.

Arrest and Potential Sentencing of Botnet Operator

The alleged operator of the botnet, Yunhi Wang, faces a sentence of 65 years behind bars if found guilty. This case has shown serious legal liability for individuals involved with activities of cybercrime on a mass scale.

Security Tips from the NSA: Turning Off Your Smartphone

The NSA recommends users of smartphones to switch off, at least once a week, their devices to reduce security risks. This can keep the door closed to vulnerabilities—well, to some.

Meta’s Switching off of AI-Generated Influence Operations

Meta accepted and removed several completely inappropriate influence campaigns using AI to promote political views. These campaigns originated from state actors like China and Iran and employed AI to generate content. Demonstrating the increasingly integration of technology in propaganda efforts.

OpenAI Concluding Remarks on AI-Directed Influence Campaigns

OpenAI went a step ahead and stated that AI-driven influence campaigns have been comparatively trivial at the present, but the future could be far more sinister in this respect. This is to say that over time, the potential for Artificial Intelligence becoming a threat to shaping public opinion and public misinformation is one which is indeed on the rise.

AI-Driven Showrunner Platform of Fable Studio

The Showrunner platform from Fable Studio touts the AI-written TV series, and hence the future of AI in arts and entertainment industries more problematic, from the ethical standpoint.

Examples of How Instagram Used User Data to Train AI

This also added to the ongoing debate over how Instagram recently used its users’ data to train its AI models—without even giving them the choice to opt out. Although users in the EU are somewhat protected by the GDPR, the company’s complex and unclear opt-out process is receiving a great deal of criticism.

FAA Approves Amazon’s Drone Deliveries

The FAA gave Amazon the green light to deploy delivery drones out of the sight of ground spotters, which should pave the way for more expansive drone delivery operations from Amazon, provided the company buckles down on recent staffing cuts that could bottleneck such efforts.

Twitch Has Overhauled Its Safety Advisory Council

Twitch eliminated its Safety Advisory Council in favor of a new program that is being rolled out with Twitch ambassadors. Part of a series of larger budget cuts, it all but signals that the platform doesn’t plan on taking security measures too seriously going forward.

Spotify’s Refund Policy for Car Thing

After first pushing back, the company relented on refunds related to its discontinued Car Thing device following customer protests and after it faced a possible class-action suit. The move is part of the company’s measures to maintain confidence with its customers.

End of ICQ Service

The ICQ instant messenger, a tool from the ancient ages of the internet, will be shut on June 26, marking a sentimental goodbye to early internet communication. This makes for quite a strong, poignant case of the rapidity of the evolution of platforms facilitating digital communication.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *