Hashtag Trending Jun.26-TikTok admits to storing U.S. data in China; Meta to restrict news to Canadians; Musk vs. Zuckerberg cage match

TikTok finally admits to storing US data in China, Meta says it will restrict news to Canadian users of Facebook and Instagram and just when you think that Elon Musk can’t be any more immature…. 

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These and more top tech news stories from Hashtag Trending and Tech News Day. I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and Tech News Day in the US.

TikTok, the Chinese-owned social media giant, has admitted that some of its American users’ data is indeed stored in China. This was disclosed in a letter on Thursday, where the company stated that “certain creator data” is stored in China. This term “creator data” refers to users who have a commercial relationship with TikTok, such as influencers who create paid content for the platform. 

The company clarified that contracts and related documents of these creators, including sensitive information like tax forms and social security numbers, are actually held outside the US. However, a TikTok spokesperson assured, “TikTok has not been asked for this data by the Chinese government or the [Chinese Communist Party]. TikTok has not provided such data to the Chinese government or CCP, nor would TikTok do so.”  Pinky swear.

This disclosure has intensified concerns over national security, with US senators Marsha Blackburn and Richard Blumenthal expressing their worry about American data being within the reach of the Chinese government. They stated, “TikTok’s response makes it crystal clear that Americans’ data is still exposed to Beijing’s draconian and pervasive spying regimes.”

Earlier this year, TikTok was banned from British government officials’ devices due to similar concerns. The company has repeatedly denied any collaboration with Beijing and has even launched a lawsuit to stop the US state of Montana from banning the app, claiming it infringes on Americans’ freedom of speech.

Sources include: The Telegraph

Google has announced a $20 million investment to establish and expand 20 cybersecurity clinics at universities across the United States. These clinics, similar to law school clinics, provide cyber assistance to local organizations that lack resources, while simultaneously training a new generation of cybersecurity professionals.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai, speaking at an event in D.C., stated, “At Google, we feel a deep sense of responsibility to help people find good-paying jobs in technology. We also want to ensure that as a nation, we have a strong cybersecurity workforce to help us stay ahead of new, evolving threats.”

The investment is in collaboration with the Consortium of Cybersecurity Clinics. It will be used to create new cybersecurity clinics and expand existing ones at colleges and universities. A portion of the funding will also be allocated for scholarships for students who wish to obtain Google’s cybersecurity certificate. Applications for the funding will open in October, with funds to be awarded in March. Selected organizations could receive up to $1 million.

Cybersecurity clinics offer students hands-on experience in the field. Students enrolled in a class tied to the clinic learn basic cybersecurity skills and partner with local organizations to develop new cybersecurity strategies.

This initiative is part of Google’s 2021 promise to invest $10 billion over five years to strengthen cybersecurity across the industry and to train 100,000 Americans in data privacy and security through its career certificate program.

Sources include: Axios

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is investing $100 million to establish what they are calling AWS Generative AI Innovation Center. This initiative aims to assist customers in developing and deploying new types of artificial intelligence products. The center will connect customers with AWS experts in AI and machine learning, helping clients across various sectors, including health care, financial services, and manufacturing, to build customized applications using this new technology.

Highspot Inc. and Twilio Inc., companies that offer sales and marketing software, will be among the early users of the innovation center. AWS CEO Adam Selipsky stated, “We will bring our internal AWS experts free-of-charge to a whole bunch of AWS customers, focusing on folks with significant AWS presence, and go help them turbocharge their efforts to get real with generative AI, get beyond the talk.”

The investment is part of Amazon’s strategy to sell more cloud services and convince clients to choose AWS for their generative AI applications. This move might be seen as a way of trying to catch up to Microsoft’s Azure and Google, who have taken an early lead in the market for generative AI.

Sources include: Data Center Knowledge

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has announced that it will restrict news access on its platforms for Canadian users. This decision comes in response to the Canadian parliament passing the Online News Act, a controversial bill that requires large platforms to compensate news publishers for content posted on their sites.

The law, which Meta has labeled as “fundamentally flawed,” mandates platforms like Meta and Google to negotiate commercial deals and pay news organizations for their content. In response, Meta has decided to end news availability on Facebook and Instagram for all users in Canada before the bill takes effect. 

The company stated, “A legislative framework that compels us to pay for links or content that we do not post, and which are not the reason the vast majority of people use our platforms, is neither sustainable nor workable.”

The Canadian government argues that the Online News Act is necessary to enhance fairness in the Canadian digital news market and to allow struggling news organizations to secure fair compensation for news and links shared on the platforms. An independent parliament budget watchdog has estimated that news businesses could receive about $329 million dollars (CDN) per year from digital platforms although there has to be a question about how much would really be collectable if these platforms simply stop showing Canadian news.

This move by Meta is either a new tougher stand or will turn out like a similar situation in Australia in 2021, where Facebook blocked users from sharing or viewing news in response to a similar law, only to restore news content after negotiations with the government.

Sources include: BBC News

The Australian government has proposed new legislation that could impose hefty fines on online platforms spreading misinformation. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) would be empowered to require digital platforms to maintain records related to misinformation and disinformation and to produce them upon request.

The draft bill also proposes that the industry develop a “code of practice” to combat misinformation. Violations of this code could result in penalties of up to $2.75 million or 2 per cent of global turnover, whichever is greater. Furthermore, the ACMA could create and enforce its own industry standard, with breaches potentially costing companies up to $6.8 million or 5 per cent of their global turnover.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland stated, “This would essentially mean that the regulator is able to look under the hood of what the platforms are doing and what measures they are taking to ensure compliance.”

The draft bill defines misinformation as unintentionally false, misleading, or deceptive content, while disinformation is defined as intentionally disseminated misinformation causing serious harm. The proposed legislation aims to “keep Australians safe” rather than stifling freedom of speech, according to Rowland.

The proposed legislation, now in the public consultation stage, would apply to social media platforms, news aggregators, and even podcasts. The consultation period will close on August 6.

Sources include: ABC News Australia

Last week, Elon Musk proposed a cage match with Mark Zuckerberg and Zuckerberg apparently agreed. 

And before you think that Elon has finally met his match because Zuckerberg is now winning medals at jiu-jitsu tournaments and training with top UFC fighters, you just have to see Zuckerberg beside one of these UFC fighters. 


While some have called this the summer of the “tech bro” noting that Silicon Valley is changing, to embrace an new assertive and athletic image, others may wonder, what are the guys trying to overcompensate for? 

And a note to Zuckerberg. Don’t, whatever you do, challenge Justin Trudeau to a cage match. We’ve seen him box. 

# I-miss-Steve-Jobs.

Sources include: Business Insider

That’s the top tech news stories for today.

Links to all of the stories can be found in the text version of this podcast at itworldcanada.com/podcasts 

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Jim Love
Jim Lovehttp://www.itworldcanada.com/
I've been in IT and business for over 30 years. I worked my way up, literally from the mail room and I've done every job from mail clerk to CEO. Today I'm CIO of a great company - IT World Canada - Canada's leading ICT publisher.

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