Tik Tok

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The anti-Trump, TDS-suffering Verge embarrasses itself trying to spin the significance of the Tik Tok & Oracle deal, as no big accomplishment. Either they are really poor at understanding tech, or they let their political agenda suffocate reason. This isn't as big a deal as if Microsoft had bought them, but it's still a pretty big deal.

This is a catastrophically dumb article that's looking to play the TDS angle, more than explain the basics.

Their point is that Oracle is just an American steward / partner and business continues as normal for Tik Tok, thus nothing happened. They want to spin that as a failure. But let's examine what that means.

(1) Before the deal, Chinese Company (and China) would host the data in China, or on Chinese controlled servers in the U.S. -- and do what they wanted with the data, with less oversight. (China has laws that say if they want to mine the data, that the company must give it to them at any time, and they have to create back doors, or mirror the data to the government on the whims of CCP). Now the data is hosted in the U.S., by Oracle, and not under Chinese authority to inspect, infect or control at the same level

(2) There's a vested interest of a large U.S. corporation to audit code and prevent user privacy intrusion. We can debate the efficacy of that, but the fact that there's a stake in the consequences does add additional barriers and incentives against such behavior. How effective Oracle will be at auditing and protecting themselves remains to be seen -- but they took a huge liability stake in promising to protect the American consumers from nefarious abuse by China.

(3) It shows the Chinese Government that two can play their bullshit games. China requires American Companies to partner with Chinese companies to host/work within China to get around their byzantine regulations and control. So Trump/America just said, "fine, you too". Oracle gets a cut of the profits, and control back. So now Chinese companies have to reciprocate in at least one case. This is a shot across the bow and a great negotiating chit -- we can dick with them like they dick with our companies. This has a huge threat, as we just established the format by which we can and will do that back. This may not mean much to dimwitted leftist editors at The Verge. But Chinese regulators sure noticed that we'll force-feed them their same rules, and they're not considering this the victory for China that the Verge is.

(4) "The Algorithm" by which they monitor and serve data is still not available to Oracle in Source Code form. But the structure of it is, and it can be reverse engineered, and Oracle has a copy of the rest of the data. So in the case of a major escalation in technical conflict -- Oracle could probably cut Tik Tok out of Tik Tok. (If they expend the effort to create that insurance policy). Will they? Dunno. But this gives them incentive to do so.

🗒️ NOTE:
To give you an idea -- I have $2M in umbrella coverage insurance. Why? Because if I have legal problems with one of my properties/etc, now an insurance company and their lawyers have skin in the game and will try to protect themselves (and me) from frivolous lawsuits, etc. The same concept here. Oracle and Walmarts are insuring Tik Tok to a point -- they had damn well better make sure that Tik Tok doesn't do anything to put the partnership/money they have in the game, at risk. That's not saying they'll do a good job, but it'll likely be better than what the government would do -- and Oracle/Walmart can get in trouble if they don't tattle.


So the only thing the article gets right is that Tik Tok chose the Oracle partnership over a Microsoft full sale, and that does result in less direct control over the code/users... for now. But that doesn't mean it was all for naught: it's a huge shot across the bow in a trade war. It also changes the incentives and consequences for violating American's privacy. It may take many years for Oracle to have a full escape outlet if Trump (other President) wants to cut off ties, without losing functionality. But it's the first step that gets everyone moving in a better direction than just allowing China the ability to monitor any troops that uploaded anything to Tik Tok, and so on.


NYT appears to have written a similar piece from what I got that isn't behind the paywall.

If this was a Democrat President (Obama), the same press that's belittling the accomplishments would be calling it a masterstroke of diplomacy and posturing against giant China. But since it's Trump, they're ignoring what the actual ramifications of this are.


📚 References