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Tik Tok banning Privacy and Ethics

#3DVU TikTok Banning, Privacy, and Ethics. Episode 220 min read

The US government recently announced an imminent ban towards TikTok and We chat two of the biggest Chinese applications in the world. In this episode, we discuss the intricacies of the Privacy concerns raised by Social Media and the internet and how ethics plays a big part in making sure that data is used to benefit everyone.

Transcript of Episode 2

LaMondre Pough: Welcome to 3DVU one conversation, three different perspectives. I’m LaMondre Pough.

David Pérez: I am David Pérez

Richard Streitz: And I´m Richard Streitz. Thank you for joining

LaMondre Pough: So today we want to talk about something. That’s. Happening, honestly, across the globe, but particularly here in the U S and that’s the banning or villainizing of Chinese based companies. Um, as you know, the US in particular has put out a lot of negative things about companies like, uh, Huawei and Tik Tok.

And here recently, India banned Tik Tok from operating within its borders. And that’s a loss of about a hundred million users. Ford Tik Tok and now the us is looking at doing the same thing, and they’re actually looking at forcing Tik Tok to sale, sell to an American company in about a month or so.

And if that is not done, they will be completely banned. So we want to have a conversation. About banning social media sites and other companies from operating within certain countries. And we want us to talk about the ramifications of that. So guys let’s start the conversation. As I said, India had 100 million users that Tik Tok lost.

Just by that ban. So that was a significant loss in members. And David you, you, you may have more insight on this in terms of the global usage of Tiktack and, and, and that, but what does that mean when a country like the United States States says no we we we don’t want you here.

David Pérez: Yeah, well, just to, to.

So people understand that the scope that the magnitude of Tik-Tok in 2020, they reached 800 million users across the globe. And that’s. Of a company that started in September of 2016. So in four years, their growth has been outstanding. They of course have shifted their business model to something that was more attractive to gen Z.

And. They simply clicked. They started clicking in 2019 and they revolutionized the world in 2020. And I think that’s what has caught the attention of governments, because it is a very powerful tool for sharing information. It is also very social media like  app that has the, the same ability that Facebook and Instagram and Twitter of getting to know you.

As a person and being able to target ads to you. And I think that that’s scary for, for some governments. I can understand why they would be scared for people to have that access to information. So, yeah, so broadly, so openly and so easily, easily managed by someone else. Right. Because if you pay in social media, you’re able to get in front of the eyes  that you want to get in front of that’s what social media apps do.

But I don’t think that this is a Tik-Tok problem. I think that that’s a social media problem. That’s why I said social media app like features because every single one of those social media apps has proven that they have the ability to do that. And not only that, they have also proven that they do it with the 2016 election and the.

Brexit election. It was obvious that it was being done to harm democratic processes. So what, what do you think, Richard? Why would you ban it? Or why wouldn’t you ban it?

Richard Streitz: Well, I think from a government standpoint, um, uh, threat throughout history, we’ve seen how controlling information and paths of information to, uh, to their population has always been going back, you know, Thousands of years controlling information is a way of being able to control, um, uh, a population.

One of the things I think is very scary is as it’s been prevalent now for a number of years with social media, is that that breaks their ability to be able to do that. Um, with every individual that has a handset and this app, they’re able to be able to have that large, broad audience to everyone, to other like-minded thinking people.

And this may be directly opposed to. Specific ideology of a government. And that is very, very dangerous. So if you’re a government. You can see how that could be a large problem. Um, and so from that standpoint, that’s one of the main reasons of them trying to curtail this. So, you know, the Arab spring is certainly, uh, I think in more modern times, the, the, the first instance where social media proved to, to be instrumental in being able to rally, um, a large group of, of individuals and to organize where that would have been extremely difficult, given a more.

Print media and this sort of a type of, of communication. So that is something that’s very, very. Difficult and challenging for a an oppressive type government where being able to clamp and control, um, information is, is challenging. And then on the flip side of that, of course, and this is the, this is the tight rope that governments use with, with, you know, walk with.

Uh, these apps it’s cause the other flip, the flip side of that is that they’re able to monitor each individual, um, as a result of having these apps. So it’s, it’s a delicate balance that they, that they walk in wanting to be able to have the benefit. Of being able to control or be able to gather information and monitor versus the adverse effects of individuals being able to organize and, and, and, and disseminate information that they may not want to otherwise.

And so I think it’s, it’s that challenge why we see the prevalence of these apps, and they’re not immediately shut down as soon as they come up, because there’s two sides to that equation as, and, and them trying to balance it out. And as soon as it. Tips too far, the one way where there’s more detriment they see than, than benefit.

They want to just shut it down. And of course that has a huge adverse effect to the populations that have created livelihoods associated with using those apps.

LaMondre Pough: Absolutely. And I will tell you, you know, David, I think you’re right. When you say that it’s not a Tik Tok issue, but it’s a social media issue.

We’ve seen what the rise of social media has been able to do. Not only in terms of, you know, people being connected and, and, and, and the things that it, that it reports on the form on the surface, but what it means for things like entrepreneurs, what it means for being able to mobilize movements, what it means to being able to just share who and what.

It is that you are, but we’ve also seen it in the manipulation of the outcomes of elections. We’ve seen it as a, as Richard said with the Arab spring, we’ve seen it even in terms of, um, you know, the U S elected his first African American president, uh, social media was a major port part of that campaign.

It was the first time that a campaign had ever used social media. So effectively. Uh, and legally I might add, uh, uh, to, to, to mobilize people. So social media has been an incredible. Agent of change for just like Richard said, I do believe that. And the key word here is oppressive. Oppressive. Governments absolutely would want to control accesse to information, spread of information and how things move and actually oppressive governments would also want to get in there and manipulate information and how information is spread and how information is used.

But honestly, I think the cat is out of the bag. Yeah. Even though I don’t believe that you can push that genie back in the bottle, yes. Governments can take massive swings in terms of banning certain, uh, certain, um, uh, certain apps or platforms. But the truth is I really believe particularly in the country, uh, like the United States that there’s always going to be people.

That create and push it out there. And honestly the public will eventually demand it. We know for a fact that much of the outrage against Tik Tok is vindictive.

Richard Streitz: Yeah,

LaMondre Pough: it is simply

Richard Streitz: retaliation. Yes.

LaMondre Pough: Retaliation. Absolutely. Oh, you, you, you mess with an outcome that I wanted. You. You fooled me fooled by those kids.

And so now im going to teach these kids a lesson. Yeah. And that’s what, that’s what I believe we’re seeing here specifically towards Tik Tok .

David Pérez: Yeah. Yeah. And one important part of this is that everything in diplomacy in international relations works based on one basic principle and that’s reciprocity. If you do this to me, I’m going to do that to you exactly the same way that you did it because governments can’t appear to be weak to their own people and much less to the people outside of their own country.

So the game that the U S is playing right now is a very dangerous game because just as they are banning Chinese apps, because of course we, we have talked about the ban of Tik-Tok, but this is also a ban on Weechat. A massive app, uh, Tenscent, one of the biggest Chinese companies in the world right now owns we-chat and they have a stake in almost everything.

And the executive order actually says that they cannot, the US companies can not work with Tencent or its subsidiaries. So that’s going to be a scary situation for a lot of industries because they, Tencent has their hands on everything

Richard Streitz: and everything. Yeah.

David Pérez: Imagine what could happen if the, if China comes and says, okay, so you don’t want to work with us.

We’re not going to let Apple sell their phones here. What’s going to happen to Apple stock when their biggest market growth right now is China. What’s going to happen with Google. If they cannot have access to the, 1.3 billion people that live in China,

Richard Streitz: right? Well, again, that’s, what’s so critical about being able to work in a more unified way as opposed to.

Uh, nationalism or this nationalist idea where, you know, we do it alone. Um, and, and that just doesn’t, it just can’t exist anymore. Uh, you know, the,  Wechat is, is such an important aspect. It’s, it’s pervasive into every aspect of a, of a, of a Chinese individual’s life. Um, they do their banking, they do their, um, they do their, their.

They’re their bill paying. They do their, um, their food. Do they do their traveling, their, their logistic, uh, um, and mapping. And so for everything is all done. Um, Through WeChat, uh, their, their, their communication with, um, talking to friends and family and so forth. Uh, it’s, it’s such a vital part of their daily lives.

Um, and to, and, and here in the U S for the, for Chinese individuals that are here, that’s still the method that they’re able to communicate and have contact with the individuals, with our family members and friends and so forth that are in China as well. So to just, um, Blanket cut that out is, is, is really just unbelievable and an unthinkable as to the, you know, millions of people that that’s going to dramatically affect.

LaMondre Pough: Right. And I think that that is the, a very important piece of it. Look at the millions of people that will be affected. And that will be affected in terms of, in terms of business people in terms of entrepreneurship, in terms of people just connecting their friends and families and loved ones. And here’s the thing that I did not realize to take it just a little bit further, particularly in times of division, um, when things are going the way that they are going in terms of our political world, in terms of the economic world.

You have a tendency to try to find the enemy, identify who the bad guy is, identify, identify someone or something, or some ideal that we can all rally around to say, that’s the enemy. And that’s the way we have to go. And I really believe that that’s a part of what’s happening here. As well as they, they, you know, you create this, you create this enemy that, that you want to get everybody to rally around.

I think the problem this time though, this is not, you know, bombs dropping out of the sky. This is not, this is not that the Oh, it’s territory. It’s, it’s, it’s, they’ve crossed a border into another country. That’s not what, this is what this is, is really what I believe a large part of the new frontier is.

This is information. This is, this is, this is analytics. That’s what this is. And unfortunately, because as you said, David, you know what happens when that turns around? And now they’re saying no, Apple can’t sell its phones here, or Google doesn’t have access here. Now you’re really hurting your own people.

Now you’re really hurting the people who you are supposedly trying to protect. And th th the, the, the real truth is it really is a false war. It’s a false narrative. That’s being purported, you know? And so I think that, I really think that when people, you know, of course the stuff you hear on the surface, you know, a lot of people can get behind.

Oh, they’ve always been spies. It’s always been this it’s always been bad, but the truth is when you really begin to look at it on the, on, on deeper levels. People really have to begin to think for themselves and really look at what are the ramifications. Then it goes back to, as you said, David diplomacy, how, how do we, because we, you, you, you can’t simply just get rid of it because we’re all interconnected, but all of those things together.

So yeah, you hit me here. I hit you there. Everybody suffers. Yeah, it’s the cold war all over again. Right? The fact that two big powers are fighting each other for things that makes almost no sense to the general population.

David Pérez: Right?

Richard Streitz:  Well, yeah. You know, the, the idea of, of information gathering for example is, is a concept that I think so many people are really misinformed about.

You know, the reality that our information, certainly anyone who was born. Um, in the sixties, um, from the sixties forward. All of your spending habits, all of your travel is all been logged and been documented from that period of time way uh, well, before, um, before we had, uh, cell phones and, and, you know, smartphones and, and these sorts of high tech devices through the, uh, through credit card expenditures, through, through check, um, uh, checks and how checks were, uh, things that you bought with checks.

Uh, all of this was, is just, um, and, and through telephones as well. Um, land landline, triangulation. This has all been, this is all data that’s been collected and gathered for years for, for, uh, lots of different reasons, not, not for nefarious. And that’s, everyone’s immediate idea is that, Oh, well, this information is being collected for some reason.

That’s, that’s invading my privacy. It’s not at all. A, um, the primary reason is just purely for marketing. Um, it is, is for target and surgical marketing. Um, and, and this has been this way. You know, since the, uh, sixties and seventies, uh, and, and all that’s happened is over the years as our technology has been increased, um, the, the ability and, and, and volume of data, um, has increased, but it’s always, always primarily for the same reason, um, marketing, uh, marketing and collecting trends, being able to assist, uh, you know, anything from, um, uh, Private held companies to, to, um, uh, to governmental agencies and being able to improve services or, or, or, or so forth.

And yeah, sure. I mean, some of it is there’s bad eggs in society. That information helps in being able to isolate and, and track those individuals as well. But that’s certainly not the primary reason. And, and you know, the idea that other countries have been doing this while other countries have been doing this for a very long time.

Um, There’s there’s, you know, just because you download an app and, and, uh, and you’re afraid that, that information, well, that information has long been collected well, before you downloaded that app, that app is, is insignificant in the amount of data it’s going to be gathering compared to the data that’s already collected.

So I think that’s something that’s really, really important that people really have to understand about the idea of, of, of our personal quote on quote data and, and, and, um, information. Is that  that ship has sailed decades ago. Uh, you know, there’s, there really is. We, we truly have no privacy at that level, um, anymore.

Um, and that’s something that we all, all of us have bought into societaly decades ago.

David Pérez: Yeah. And the fact that that data can also be used for development yeah. For increasing the capabilities of cool things that are helping people all over the world. Right. Like voice recognition or. Subtitle creation.

Those types of things are, are happening because we have access to buckets and buckets of data every single day. And the fact that Google can translate what I’m saying, even though I have an accent or what other people say


texts is because they have had access to loads of information. And now that that is useful for people like, for example, the LaMondre  who uses it to achieve the activities of his daily living and, and that’s just, that’s just progress. Right,

Richard Streitz: right, right. Creating data pools.

David Pérez: It’s what we have to do, I think is shift the conversation from no data or, or all data to what are you doing with that data?

Yeah, let’s make it transparent

transparency and let’s make it something good for society instead of just things that are going to hurt society.

I don’t think that that data should be used for political purposes.

LaMondre Pough: Absolutely. Absolutely. So, yeah, that was going to be my next, that was going to be the next area that I wanted to talk about. Because the thing that we realized with all the, the conversation that we just had, that the things that you just brought up, David, the things that you just brought up, Richard, that there is good, that comes out of this.

However, it is a narrative that’s out there that your privacy is being invaded. People know, you know, you know, What food is stuck in between your teeth right now, they know that they know that. And so how do we, how do we then, how do we then get them message out about, about this? How do we then begin to change that narrative?

Um, so that people will understand, listen, you’ve been giving it up for a very long time. And honestly, this is just a part of the new frontier has to happen. Now, this information. Is is, is, is gathered. It’s just another means of doing that. How do we change that narrative?

Richard Streitz: Yeah, well, well, I think

David Pérez: I would include the, the ethics component on everything we create and just by doing that, having, having the people that, that go to universities to study philosophy, be a part of what’s good and bad to do with that information would make a big difference in.

In the use of that information and it wouldn’t really hurt the bottom line of companies. It could actually help them not be suffering from this type of problem. Right. If there was a, uh, an ethics committee that all companies could get together and say, okay, if we’re developing AI and we’re gathering data, this is how it should look like.

Everything crossing. This line is bad. Everything crossing this line is good. Yeah. I think that would help every single one of those companies.

LaMondre Pough: You know, that’s a really important point because I tell you, you know, when we hear that, but we hear about these kinds of things. It is literally like they’re pirates on ships.

That’s just coming to, you know, absolutely ravage us and take all of our, our, uh, take a bounty. A farmer. So I think, I think that that ethical piece is important. Particularly talk about the companies coming together with people who are really sound in terms of ethics and determining what that is. Richard, I’m sorry, go ahead.

Richard Streitz: Oh, no, I was just going to say that, you know, certainly that ethics, uh, a piece of the puzzle has something that’s been in, um, slow coming in and almost nonexistent, especially I know in the scientific community, um, Ethics with artificial intelligence is something that has been in the discussion, but not necessarily in the forefront.

Um, you know, one of the challenges that we faced with the development of, of, of the technologies that we have, you know, with us and around us all day long is that they’ve advanced far faster than our ability to come up and deal with, with morality and ethics issues associated with them. Um, and, and, uh, so right now we have such a huge disparity in the gap that exists between the, the functionality and usability of our tech versus any sort of ethic, um, ethical, um, um, monitoring of that, or a guidelines associated with that.

And, and, you know, because that gap is so large, that. You know, there’s there’s problems that arise, right? There’s a lot of gray area into how and why. And, and, and when that data is being collected, um, from all its various points. And so that is something that’s a, that’s a huge point. And, you know, again, this goes back to the whole issue with, with Tik Tok and these, and these social ops that are, that are, you know, coming up to on these banned lists, is that what ends up happening is that.

Based on the governments that are in power, the powers that be, um, they decide that they there’s a tipping point where it no longer in line with their, with their ideal or what they believe is. And, and again, you know, if we had sort of that ethical component that was built in, and that advanced at the same level as the rest of technology, there would be these, there would be far better guidelines to help provide a much cleaner path to that decision making process.

LaMondre Pough: Yeah, definitely. I’d tell you what, this is a, you know, again, just another way that the world is changing and that it has changed. And I think that it is important that people really understand the power of social media, understanding the power of government and what it means to either. Allow people to have access or deny people access.

And so it’s interesting. And we’ll see how things turn out shortly. So thank you guys for the conversation. 3DVU.

David Pérez: Thanks for joining us this week on 3DVU, make sure to visit our website. That’s  where you can subscribe to the show wherever you listen to podcasts  or join our YouTube channel. So you will never miss a show while you’re at it. You find value in the show.

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