Trump banned TikTok and WeChat. Are video games next?

16 08 2020

Los Angeles Times
Sam Dean
Aug. 7, 2020

“President Trump’s two executive orders targeting Chinese companies went public just after 6 p.m. Pacific on Thursday.

The first went after TikTok, to no one’s surprise. The video app had been the subject of intensifying rhetoric from the Trump administration for weeks. The order declared that all U.S. entities would be banned from doing business with parent company ByteDance starting in 45 days — a deadline that may serve mostly to put a shot clock on Microsoft’s negotiations to buy TikTok.

The second order was a curveball. In a tangle of commas, it prohibited “any transaction that is related to WeChat,” a messaging app ubiquitous in China and used by more than a billion people around the world, with Tencent Holdings, WeChat’s parent company, “or any subsidiary of that entity.”

By 7 p.m., the gamers were freaking out.

Trump, tweeted Noah J. Nelson, “basically just declared war on gamers as a whole. I’m sure that will work out nicely for him.””

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The Internet’s threat is more about national security than the economy

16 08 2020

Washington Post
Opinion by Robert J. Samuelson
August 2, 2020

“To be fair, let’s note that no country has yet suffered a mass cyberattack from a nation or a rogue group that targeted its basic information infrastructure, with the possible exception of Ukraine, attacked by Russia in 2014. Some cyber experts minimize the possibility. It strikes them as melodramatic alarmism. Perhaps they are right.

This is worth repeating: Despite many breaches, none has yet risen to the level of a concerted assault designed to bring daily life to a halt. But the experts could also be wrong. It may be that a mass attack on the United States or some other major target is just a matter of time. What would such an attack look like and feel like? We now have a crude standard of comparison: the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent shutdown of major parts of the economy and society.

The consequences of a massive cyberattack could make the disruptions caused by the pandemic seem like child’s play. There might be simultaneous assaults on the nation’s power, communication, financial and transportation networks. People would stumble about in a cyber fog with public and private communications channels, from email to cable TV, disabled or overwhelmed.

We are fooling ourselves if we think that breaking up the industry means we are confronting the true threat of the Internet. I have written before that we’d be better off without the Internet — a suggestion that some regarded as a silly attempt at humor but, though unrealistic, was an attempt to emphasize the seriousness of the matter.

My view, then and now, is that all the wonderful things that the Internet allows us to do are potentially offset by the possible costs that it could impose on us. If the industry deserves harsh criticism — and it does — it is for playing down or ignoring the threats posed by this novel and nerve-racking new technology.”

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