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Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Saturday, August 08, 2020

A new report exposes how a federal contractor secretly puts government tracking software into hundreds of mobile apps. The data gleaned from this tracking is then sold back to the US government for undisclosed purposes. This tactic is deceptive because the tracking isn't disclosed. However, it appears to be totally legal.

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As if we didn't have enough to worry about already.

#1 | Posted by leftcoastlawyer at 2020-08-08 02:21 PM | Reply

Congress needs to act.

Unfortunately, one of our parties is perfectly fine with totalitarianism.

"If you have nothing to hide," etc, etc.

#2 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-08-08 02:24 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Cell phone apps that collect personal data to be sold to anyone who wants the data are quite widespread.

I don't buy the "anonymized" aspect of the data collection either. I've seen research that indicates it is quite easy to "de-anonymize" the data given the extensive amount of data available from varying sources.

At least now, Apple's iOS will let the user know when an app turns on the camera or microphone.

Android still does not provide that level of notification (though an apps does, but one wonders what data that app is collecting...).

#3 | Posted by LampLighter at 2020-08-08 02:27 PM | Reply

"At least now, Apple's iOS will let the user know when an app turns on the camera or microphone."

This is GPS data, though.

#4 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-08-08 02:28 PM | Reply

@#4 ... This is GPS data ...

Yup, I knew that, though I should have noted it.

I was just mentioning a good feature of iOS that Android lacks.

Another aspect of cell phone tracking... the larger brick and mortar stores have been using a system that tracks a cell phone if the WiFi is enabled. A full WiFi connection is not required, only radio contact as the WiFi protocol exposes the MAC address (unique number assigned to network hardware in a cell phone) to anyone who asks for it.

I've read articles about how a department store tracks customers as they walk in the door to determine whether they wander around the store ("window shopping") or go directly to a certain department ("on a mission to buy something"). When the customer walks up to the sales counter, the path the customer took is displayed for the sales rep.

Scary stuff this cell phone tracking...


#5 | Posted by LampLighter at 2020-08-08 02:56 PM | Reply

Yeah but...tik tok.

#6 | Posted by jpw at 2020-08-08 03:14 PM | Reply

@#6

tik-tok is just as bad, except that it sends the data it collects to servers in China.

#7 | Posted by LampLighter at 2020-08-08 03:23 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Neilson has been collecting info on you for years. Not new
The GOP just spent millions of dollars getting your Facebook data, like yesterday

And dweebs are scared of China?

China can't hurt you China isn't going to loot your retirement and crush your healthcare

The GOP, they are out to rob you in broad daylight. They actually control your money and are robbing us blind

---- morons

#8 | Posted by ChiefTutMoses at 2020-08-08 04:27 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

tik-tok is just as bad, except that it sends the data it collects to servers in China.
#7 | POSTED BY LAMPLIGHTER

That suggests Tik-Tok is much better.
What's China gonna do, sell it to Uncle Sam?

#9 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-08-08 04:35 PM | Reply

@#9 ... That suggests Tik-Tok is much better. ...

That is your inference, not my implication.

#10 | Posted by LampLighter at 2020-08-08 07:56 PM | Reply

Also it's not known if TikTok sells anything to China, and there's no evidence they are.

That's actually just Trump propaganda at this point.

#11 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-08-08 08:00 PM | Reply

@#11 ... Also it's not known if TikTok sells anything to China ...

I'm not convinced that "sells" would be an appropriate description.

... That's actually just Trump propaganda at this point....

It's not really Pres Trump propaganda. I'd phrase it more as a big hazy area that Pres Trump is exploitig for political purposes.

TikTok is evasive when asked direct questions about it.

I am quite sure TikTok knows the answer, but their reluctance to provide it is a yellow flag for me.



#12 | Posted by LampLighter at 2020-08-08 08:22 PM | Reply

"TikTok is evasive when asked direct questions about it."

No they aren't.
They flat out deny it.

#13 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-08-08 08:42 PM | Reply

"It's not really Pres Trump propaganda. I'd phrase it more as a big hazy area that Pres Trump is exploitig for political purposes."

^
Those are the same thing.
A distinction without a difference.
Same haze shrouds every media platform.
But only TikTok bad, because only TikTok from Gyna.

#14 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-08-08 08:44 PM | Reply

"But only TikTok bad, because only TikTok from Gyna."

It's from your beloved communist Chinese dictatorship, not "Gyna". They have a law in communist China that all of their companies must surrender any information asked for and to assist on anything if ordered. No warrants, subpoenas, or judges required. No resistance either if they want to keep their kidneys.

#15 | Posted by willowby at 2020-08-08 09:10 PM | Reply

@#14 ... A distinction without a difference. ...

Well, I do try to separate facts from haziness and the political exploitation of the latter. Hence my comment.

But I do take your point, even though I do not fully agree with it.


#16 | Posted by LampLighter at 2020-08-08 09:15 PM | Reply

@#13 ... They flat out deny it. ...

Post-2019, possibly.

Pre-2019, not so.

I remember a change in 2019, and that change has been (and still is) a bit nebulous.

Was the change for deniability purposes or was it for real data-sharing purposes? That was the reason for my yellow flag.

Since 2019 lawyers are involved, and TikTok is saying things for legal reasons, not necessarily because they are true.


#17 | Posted by LampLighter at 2020-08-08 09:21 PM | Reply

#7 | Posted by LampLighter at 2020-08-08 03:23 PM |
tik-tok is just as bad, except that it sends the data it collects to servers in China.

Actually, no. Their servers are well known, in the USA, Canada, Europe and some in Asia. US data is not collected in Asia.

The president and several of VPs and of TickTok and part of their software development team are White Americans and citizens of USA - easy to check. While the source code is obviously not open, the servers and where the data goes and stored are well known.

TikTok is now offering refunds to clients for the ads they presold while they now may not be able to show because they come from US servers and they have to uproot some infrastructure to outside of US and her possible "allies" in Trump's Bizarro world.

The "ban" and Trump's "war on China" is a distraction from Trump being all but an official agent of Czar Emperor Vlad (Putin) because it's a populist "tough on China" device and attitude that's currently popular with both liberals and now "Trump conservatives" (whatever the hell it is.)

What Trump is doing with this indiscriminate insane idiocy is actually just going to speed up the development of "native" (or at least non-US-based) infrastructure, not only by Chinese but also Europeans and some Asian countries because they understand that they no longer can count on sane US policies, and are vulnerable if Trump or another US "King" decides to use the American digital infrastructure to press them on trade or other issues.

Trump is a sledgehammer when it comes to being a "negotiator" - to him everything looks like a nail, that's all he knows, whether it's his illegal Polish contractors or other countries. He doesn't understand what "soft power" means or the value of it. As such, he is most likely to abuse the power he either has or imagines he has.

"Power corrupts, and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely."

#18 | Posted by CutiePie at 2020-08-08 09:36 PM | Reply

#7 | Posted by LampLighter at 2020-08-08 03:23 PM |
tik-tok is just as bad, except that it sends the data it collects to servers in China.

Actually, no. Their servers are well known, in the USA, Canada, Europe and some in Asia. US data is not collected in Asia.

The president and several of VPs of TickTok and part of their software development team are White Americans and citizens of USA - easy to check. While the source code is obviously not open, the servers and where the data goes and stored are well known.

TikTok is now offering refunds to clients for the ads they presold while they now may not be able to show because they come from US servers and they have to uproot some infrastructure to outside of US and her possible "allies" in Trump's Bizarro world.

The "ban" and Trump's "war on China" is a distraction from Trump being all but an official agent of Czar Emperor Vlad (Putin) because it's a populist "tough on China" device and attitude that's currently popular with both liberals and now "Trump conservatives" (whatever the hell it is.)

What Trump is doing with this indiscriminate insane idiocy is actually just going to speed up the development of "native" (or at least non-US-based) infrastructure, not only by Chinese but also Europeans and some Asian countries because they understand that they no longer can count on sane US policies, and are vulnerable if Trump or another US "King" decides to use the American digital infrastructure to press them on trade or other issues.

This "strategy" is already backfiring and, if continued by Biden administration (and beyond), will eventually lead to the loss or greatly diminished influence of the US technology and diplomacy and possible isolation of US tech companies and US standing in the world.

Trump is a sledgehammer when it comes to being a "negotiator" - to him everything looks like a nail, that's all he knows, whether it's his illegal Polish contractors or other countries. He doesn't understand what "soft power" means or the value of it. As such, he is most likely to abuse the power he either has or imagines he has.

"Power corrupts, and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely."

#19 | Posted by CutiePie at 2020-08-08 09:44 PM | Reply

@#18 ... are White Americans ...

Interesting that you phrase it as such.

... where the data goes and stored are well known. ...

A couple questions...

The first servers that the data goes to may be well-known.

But who has access to the data on those server, i.e., where does the data go subsequently? It is that subtlety of wording that has raised the yellow flag for me.

... The "ban" and Trump's "war on China" is a distraction from Trump being all but an official agent of Czar Emperor Vlad (Putin) because it's a populist "tough on China" device and attitude that's currently popular with both liberals and now "Trump conservatives" (whatever the hell it is.) ...

Wow.

#20 | Posted by LampLighter at 2020-08-08 09:47 PM | Reply

"They have a law in communist China that all of their companies must surrender any information asked for and to assist on anything if ordered."

We have that law too, buttercup.

#21 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-08-08 09:54 PM | Reply

"But who has access to the data on those server, i.e., where does the data go subsequently? It is that subtlety of wording that has raised the yellow flag for me."

Holler back when you have this question for literally any other Internet company.

American Internet companies have routed traffic outside or the United States, at the request of the United States, where it is no longer subject to the legal protections of the United States.

Do you know that, or not, LampLighter?

I worked at an American company that ships your doctor's voice notes to India, where they are transcribed outside the protections of HIPAA and sent back to the USA.

Do you acknowledge this kind of thing happens or not, LampLighter?

I'm not sure what you think you're lighting your lamp for here, if not Trump.

#22 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-08-08 09:59 PM | Reply

@#22 ... when you have this question for literally any other Internet company. ...

Quelle surprise.

... I'm not sure what you think you're lighting your lamp for here, if not Trump. ...

I am lighting gas lamps to shine a light on the data collection on the internet.

TikTok just happens to be a current topic in that area. :) And Pres Trump seems to be exploitly it as if it were a singular occurrence.

I do acknowledge that it happens broadly.

However, I do not allow that broad occurrence to prevent me from commenting on the individual occurrences as I see them

So, now I ask you, why do you seem to justify this mass and widespread collection of personal data?

#23 | Posted by LampLighter at 2020-08-08 10:07 PM | Reply

#21

Trying to equate the two, is 50 cent fantasy, snoofy.

#24 | Posted by willowby at 2020-08-08 10:12 PM | Reply

#24

Just like you equated the communist Chinese concentration camps in Xinjiang to the migrant detention centers in the US. Ridiculous on both.

#25 | Posted by willowby at 2020-08-08 10:16 PM | Reply

Trying to equate the two, is 50 cent fantasy, snoofy.
#24 | POSTED BY WILLOWBY

Not really.
Not according to Snowden and Assange.

#26 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-08-08 10:31 PM | Reply

"I do acknowledge that it happens broadly."

Baby steps!

#27 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-08-08 10:39 PM | Reply

#20 | Posted by LampLighter at 2020-08-08 09:47 PM |
@#18 ... are White Americans ...
Interesting that you phrase it as such.

LOL I knew I would get in "trouble" as soon as I posted - let me clarify. Many people today are either sensitive to "labels" or demand "identity" to be included. What I meant was that the upper management and part of development team are NOT "Asian-Americans" who, by many, in today's political climate are being treated or looked at with suspicion as [potential] Chinese spies, particularly in academia or "sensitive" areas of research or government. Hope it's clear that it was not meant as a slur and should have been better expressed in original post.

But who has access to the data on those server, i.e., where does the data go subsequently?

The data in the giant data centers in the countries and areas that I mentioned, along with the data of other companies - if you watched "Silicon Valley" series you would know how it's managed and that access is pretty limited. These are not "proxy servers" like VPNs, for example. TikTok has no means of redirecting data servers streams after the data is stored.

We can always play "six/two/many degrees of separation" about the data servers, but the likelyhood of that (mostly pretty immatereal and encrypted) huge amount of data going to China (or NSA for that matter) for some reason is about slim to none - there are much better ways to get specifically needed isolated data stream that shuffle through petabytes of unlinked data. If anything, due to where the data servers are, as I've already described, it's more likely to be turned over on the request of US or other Western government than it would be to China.

As far as TikTok being a "platform" that can be used for propaganda purposes, it's been far more benign than some of the more "mature" social platforms like Facebook, Reddit, Twitter etc. From what little I've read, the old-time conservatives (those not infected by Trump-virus) are liking TikTok more than most social networks because it's "unspoiled" by propaganda, in part due to its wide use by kids wanting to have fun, so they are targeted by ad content accordingly.

#28 | Posted by CutiePie at 2020-08-08 10:40 PM | Reply

@#28 ... LOL I knew I would get in "trouble" as soon as I posted - let me clarify. Many people today are either sensitive to "labels" or demand "identity" to be included. What I meant was that the upper management and part of development team are NOT "Asian-Americans" who, by many, in today's political climate are being treated or looked at with suspicion as [potential] Chinese spies, particularly in academia or "sensitive" areas of research or government. Hope it's clear that it was not meant as a slur and should have been better expressed in original post....

I do not think you are in "trouble" for saying "White Americans."

Quite the contrary. I admire your candor for saying what you have to.

I thought it showed how you viewed the current environment. Your explanation, i.e.,

'What I meant was that the upper management and part of development team are NOT "Asian-Americans" '

shows that you are quite concerned about identity politics.

If I may suggest to you, if you really want to promote what you view as "your viewpoint" just STOP POSTING.

You seem to be too honest of a person to promote the opinions you seem to want to (or have to) promote.

Just stop. OK?

You are not fulfilling the task you think you are fulfilling.


#29 | Posted by lamplighter at 2020-08-08 10:57 PM | Reply

"If anything, due to where the data servers are, as I've already described, it's more likely to be turned over on the request of US or other Western government than it would be to China."

^
This.

It's also more likely to simply be captured by the US government, since they can architect routing data that originates in the US beyond the reach of US law, simply by asking for help from our cooperative US ISPs.

#30 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-08-08 11:00 PM | Reply

Just like you equated the communist Chinese concentration camps in Xinjiang to the migrant detention centers in the US. Ridiculous on both.
#25 | POSTED BY WILLOWBY

LOL
I didn't do that either.

The US has nukes.
China has nukes.
That doesn't equate the strength of the two nuclear arsenals.

#31 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-08-08 11:02 PM | Reply

@30 ... it's more likely to be turned over on the request of US or other Western government than it would be to China." ...

Legally, perhaps it would be more likely.

But in the course of normal business, I would say that the case has not been made. Hence, my concern.

And I note that you seem to have avoided my question in #23...

So, now I ask you, why do you seem to justify this mass and widespread collection of personal data?

#32 | Posted by LampLighter at 2020-08-08 11:15 PM | Reply

"So, now I ask you, why do you seem to justify this mass and widespread collection of personal data?"

What makes you say I seem to justify it?
Was it this?

Congress needs to act.
Unfortunately, one of our parties is perfectly fine with totalitarianism.
"If you have nothing to hide," etc, etc.
#2 | POSTED BY SNOOFY

#33 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-08-08 11:16 PM | Reply

@#33 ... What makes you say I seem to justify it? ...

Your apparent justification or rationalization of it in many comments.

Thanks for citing a comment where you seem not to justify it.

#34 | Posted by LampLighter at 2020-08-08 11:39 PM | Reply

#26

I don't recall Snowden or Assange comparing US surveillance to communist China requiring their companies to do whatever they say say. Quit lying. I know it's hard for you, but try.

#35 | Posted by willowby at 2020-08-08 11:42 PM | Reply

#29 | Posted by lamplighter at 2020-08-08 10:57 PM |

...shows that you are quite concerned about identity politics.

Not really, I find it silly, but sensitive for many people and, with rare exceptions, hurtful and damaging - that's my only viewpoint on the subject and that's why I generally don't discuss identity politics. Here I just stumbled into it inadvertently because while I wanted to make clear certain issues of TikTok, I expressed this one too broadly and unclearly.

If I may suggest to you, if you really want to promote what you view as "your viewpoint" just STOP POSTING.

As I said, I am not really "promoting" my views on identity politics, AT BEST it would be a waste of time. These arguments don't convince anyone of anything and are likely only to hurt feelings. And I seldom post as it is, on any subject.

You are not fulfilling the task you think you are fulfilling.

I don't have a "task" to fulfill - I am not here on behalf of any person, organization, government or political party. I just wanted to clear some misconceptions about TikTok by posting some facts that thread seemed to lack.

No one was asking the same questions about Pokemon Go or many modern MPRGs, and they all collect huge amounts of personal data, often on servers located in... Venezuela, where only 62% of people have access to Internet. For example, 4 Colocation Venezuela data centers have data servers from AT&T, CenturyLink, GlobeNet etc.

You are not asking "why Venezuela?" because you know why - it's one of the cheapest colocation places available. Just waiting to be "banned" by US President?

Iceland is cold, has a lot of cheap and "green" renewable energy so there is a boom of data miners and bitcoin / altcoin data centers there. Where does it go from there?

#36 | Posted by CutiePie at 2020-08-09 12:21 AM | Reply

@#36 ... Not really, ...

Then why did you post that comment?

... I am not really "promoting" my views on identity politics, ...

Yet you posted about "White Americans" (your words, not mine).

Keep tryin'. You are not helping your position. But do keep trying...


#37 | Posted by LampLighter at 2020-08-09 12:27 AM | Reply

Yet you posted about "White Americans" (your words, not mine).

And there I thought, you actually understood what I explained, twice, about the intent and content... as in "NOT Asian-American" because it was directly related to management of TikTok.

Oh well. My last post on the non-subject, you can misinterpret it any way you wish.

#38 | Posted by CutiePie at 2020-08-09 12:56 AM | Reply

@#38 ... I thought, you actually understood what I explained ... as in "NOT Asian-American" ...

I did understand what you explained. You explained your viewpoint quite clearly.

Identity politics.

Here let me emphasis it for you, in your own words... "White Americans" ... "NOT Asian-American"

As I mentioned earlier, keep posting...




#39 | Posted by lamplighter at 2020-08-09 01:37 AM | Reply

You are correct about stores tracking you. I used to have an android app that sniffed out when your phone was being tracked. It's in Walmart's.. Food lion. Also when you use an atm a source grabs your info. I leave my phone home now when I venture out.

#40 | Posted by penguinhead at 2020-08-09 02:35 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"I don't recall Snowden or Assange comparing US surveillance to communist China requiring their companies to do whatever they say say."

Well, we don't bother to ask permission, we just acquire the data without asking.
This is functionally identical to what happens in China, yes?
The government gets the data the government wants.
In the US, we simply don't need to ask. We just take.
And it's legal.

#41 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-08-09 07:21 AM | Reply

But but Trumpy loves President Xi.

They have such a good relationship. Why Xi would never do anything to hurt Trumpy!

They had beautiful chocolate cake together!

"China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!"

"And, honestly, I think, as tough as this negotiation was, I think our relationship with China now might be the best it's been in a long, long time. And now it's reciprocal. Before, we were being ripped off badly. Now we have a reciprocal relationship, maybe even better than reciprocal for us."

Just had a long and very good conversation by phone with President Xi of China. He is strong, sharp and powerfully focused on leading the counterattack on the Coronavirus. He feels they are doing very well, even building hospitals in a matter of only days ... Great discipline is taking place in China, as President Xi strongly leads what will be a very successful operation. We are working closely with China to help!

"I spoke with President Xi, and they're working very, very hard. And I think it's all going to work out fine."

That was THIS YEAR.

And on and on and on.... ad nauseum.

And you deplorables believed him.

#42 | Posted by donnerboy at 2020-08-09 10:35 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

You are correct about stores tracking you. I used to have an android app that sniffed out when your phone was being tracked. It's in Walmart's.. Food lion. Also when you use an atm a source grabs your info. I leave my phone home now when I venture out.
#40 | POSTED BY PENGUINHEAD AT 2020-08-09 02:35 AM

Are these third-party ATM's doing this without warrant, warning or awareness? Are these machines owned by banks directly? People spend minutes essentially standing still with their devices, a perfect data collection point.

#43 | Posted by redlightrobot at 2020-08-09 01:42 PM | Reply

"I spoke with President Xi, and they're working very, very hard. And I think it's all going to work out fine."

Willowby, I hope you were sitting down when you read that!

Feels bad man. Real bad.

#44 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-08-09 02:36 PM | Reply

maybe MS should buy them.

#45 | Posted by ichiro at 2020-08-09 05:25 PM | Reply

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