View Desktop Version
Howard's Blog
Listing of Previous Blogs

Tick Tocking Away

This week both houses of Congress passed and President Biden signed legislation that may force the sale of the social media platform Tik Tok to non-Chinese ownership. It is alleged that the personal data stored on Tik Tok could be transfered to the Chinese government and that this would be a problem for our national security. IMHO this is one of the crazier issues in an era of crazy issues.

It's crazy for two reasons... it has become a huge political issue for almost no reason, and the when lawsuits reach the Supreme Court, the legislation may be ruled unconstitutional as a violation of Tik Tok users free speech under the First Amendment.

Apple has virtually all of its products produced in China using a great deal of Chinese technology. By the same logic that Chinese ownership of Tik Tok is a threat to the security of the United States, a non-Chinese owned company, Apple, could be construed to be a security threat to the Peoples Republic because secret Chinese developed technology could be transfered to the United States.

Technology and information knows no national borders. United States ownership of Tik Tok will not make the United States safer (or Great Again). Forcing Apple to become a Chinese company would not make China great. Users of these products and services, in all countries, could suffer from a lack of innovation and development of new technology... Bad Idea.

Lower courts in this country have ruled that banning Tik Tok infinges on the freedom of speech for Americans and is an unconstitutional act. A full national ban will have to be decided in the United States Supreme Court and will tie-up the issue for years.

Forcing an ownership change or closure for Tik Tok does not infringe on anyone's freedom of speech. It may eliminate a medium of such speech... just as happened when Rush Limbaugh died, or when Twitter was changed into X. Changes to the availablity of media can happen all of the time... without infringing on any Constitutional right to Free Speech.