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The application, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, has become embroiled in an ongoing standoff between the United States and China. The Trump administration claims that the app provides user data to the Chinese government, a claim TikTok denies. The US has threatened to ban the app on 15 September if its owner doesn’t sell it to a US company. The US move against TikTok is a dangerous precedent that may eventually kill the Internet, founder of the Telegram messaging application Pavel Durov said. In a statement posted on his account on Telegram, the Russian entrepreneur warned that Washington’s attempts to force ByteDance to sell its application to a US company is a strategy that is used by authoritarian regimes. "The problem with the US-TikTok case is that it legitimises an extortion tactic previously employed only by authoritarian regimes. For decades, the US has been perceived as the defender of free trade and free speech. But now that China has started to replace them as the main beneficiary of global trade, the US (or at least the Trump administration) seems to have become less enthusiastic about those values. This is regrettable, because billions of people on this planet still like the idea of an open and interconnected world", Durov wrote. The 35-year-old noted that soon every major country is likely to use national security as a pretext to ban tech companies. "Ironically, it’s the US companies like Facebook or Google that are likely to lose the most from the fallout", Durov wrote. His statement comes two days after US President Donald Trump threatened to block TikTok in the United States, where it has 80 million users, unless the application’s owner, ByteDance, sells it to an American company.

A threat actor is flooding a hacker forum with databases exposing expose over 386 million user records that they claim were stolen from eighteen companies during data breaches. Since July 21st, a seller of data breaches known as ShinyHunters has begun leaking the databases for free on a hacker forum known for selling and sharing stolen data. ShinyHunters has been involved in or responsible for a wide assortment of data breaches this past year, including Wattpad, Dave, Chatbooks, Promo.com, Mathway, HomeChef, and the breach of Microsoft private GitHub repository. Databases stolen in data breaches usually are privately sold first, with prices ranging between $500 (Zoosk) to $100,000 (Wattpad). Once they are no longer profitable, threat actors commonly release them on hacker forums to increase their community reputation. Of the databases released since July 21st, nine of them were already disclosed in some manner in the past. The other nine, including Havenly, Indaba Music, Ivoy, Proctoru, Rewards1, Scentbird, and Vakinha, have not been previously disclosed.

Earlier in the week, US President Donald Trump announced his intention to ban the Chinese-owned viral video platform TikTok in the United States amid allegations that the app "spies" on American citizens and could be used to "meddle" in the US presidential election. Microsoft revealed in its official blog that the company is committed to continuing discussions with the White House over purchasing TikTok, after a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Donald Trump. The company noted that the talks would "in any event" be completed "no later than 15 September". "Microsoft will move quickly to pursue discussions with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, in a matter of weeks, and in any event completing these discussions no later than 15 September, 2020. During this process, Microsoft looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United States Government, including with the President", the company's statement said. The company said further updates would be revealed when there is a "definitive outcome" to the discussions. The statement also outlined that Microsoft would "move quickly" to pursue discussions with TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, which will be built "upon a notification made by Microsoft and ByteDance to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)". "The two companies have provided notice of their intent to explore a preliminary proposal that would involve a purchase of the TikTok service in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and would result in Microsoft owning and operating TikTok in these markets", Microsoft said. The new structure is promised to stick to the "experience TikTok users currently love", while "adding world-class security, privacy, and digital safety protections". Microsoft also vowed to ensure that all private data of American citizens is kept in the United States, noting that in cases when such data is "stored or backed-up" outside the country, the company will make sure it is deleted after being transferred to the US. Expressing appreciation for the participation of the White House in the talks, the tech giant noted that "there can be no assurance that a transaction which involves Microsoft will proceed".
Trump Opposition to TikTok

Instagram users report direct message problems after Twitter suffers massive security breach. Instagram users say that the platform’s direct messaging feature is down, hours after Twitter was hit by a sophisticated cyber-attack. Using the hashtag #instagramdown, people have begun tweeting about how their Instagram DMs are not loading properly. A video posted to Twitter shows a woman trying to access her direct messages but to no avail. Others disclosed that they had deleted and reinstalled Instagram on their phones in an attempt to rectify the problem, only to realize that the issue wasn’t on their end. It’s unclear how many people have been affected by the reported outage. Hours earlier, a group of hackers launched a “coordinated social engineering attack” on Twitter and gained access to the site’s internal systems and tools. A number of high-profile accounts were then hacked, including that of presidential candidate Joe Biden. The compromised accounts were used to promote a bitcoin scam, prompting Twitter to temporarily lock down all verified profiles in an attempt to remedy the security breach. Via rt.com story & pic

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UK Bans Huawei From Its 5G Program - LONDON – British telecoms companies will be banned from buying Huawei 5G components starting from the end of this year, Media Secretary Oliver Dowden stated, as the firms also must get rid of all of their Huawei gear by 2027. He said that the National Cyber Security Centre informed the ministers that they have “significantly changed their assessment of Huawei’s presence in the UK’s 5G network“, according to RT. “This has not been an easy decision, but it is the right one for the UK telecoms networks, for our national security and our economy, both now and indeed in the long run,” Dowden added. Speaking in parliament, Dowden argued that relying on a Chinese company to provide sensitive technology to the UK opened the country to great security risks. He noted that the move against Huawei provides an opportunity for British firms and firms from countries like Japan and South Korea to bring in products that will serve as a replacement for Huawei. Dowden told MPs that the government will present a bill making sure that “the flow of Huawei’s 5G equipment will have stopped”. He also admitted that the exclusion of Huawei from the UK telecoms structure will add two to three years to the delivery of 5G to the country. A Huawei spokesperson stated that the decision to ban the use of its equipment is “bad news for anyone in the UK with a mobile phone”, and risks slowing down the digital innovation in the country. US President Donald Trump’s administration blacklisted the Chinese giant last year and has been increasingly pressuring US allies in Europe, including Britain and Germany, to do the same. In February, US Vice President Mike Pence noted that the UK’s position on Huawei remained “a real issue” between the countries, and even hinted that Britain’s refusal to ban Huawei could be a “deal-breaker” in future trade talks. US officials argued that “Beijing can use Huawei for surveillance and espionage on Americans”. Both Huawei and the Chinese government denied these allegations.
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This is the second suit Google has faced from the same law firm this summer. In June, the company was sued for $5 billion for alleged piracy related to its Chrome browser. Google disputed the claims and promised to fight them in court. Google is facing a lawsuit accusing the company of tracking and collecting users’ data even if they turn on privacy mode. The lawsuit, brought by the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner on behalf of several individual customers, claims the company tracks user activity through “hundreds of thousands of apps”. The claims focus on Google’s “Web & App Activity” function, which records browsing history to give users personalised content and recommendations, including ads. Google assures users that they can prevent the company from eavesdropping on their activity by turning off the service, although the lawsuit alleges that it collects and sells their data regardless of what privacy settings consumers choose. “Notwithstanding consumers’ best efforts, Google has made itself an unaccountable trove of information so detailed and expansive that George Orwell himself could not have imagined it,” says the lawsuit, filed in a US district court in San Jose on Tuesday against the tech giant and its parent firm, Alphabet. Plaintiffs allege that Google collects data through Firebase, its mobile platform that purportedly provides additional functionality to an app and typically operates invisibly to consumers. They claim that third-party developers are forced to use the software in their apps because this is the only way for them to get access to other tools like Google Analytics or market the apps on Google Play Store. The lawsuit seeks class action status and comes a month after Boies Schiller Flexner sued Google for covertly recording Chrome browser users’ activity despite their use of the so-called Incognito mode. That second lawsuit is demanding $5 billion from Alphabet for violating the Federal Wiretap law and the Invasion of Privacy Act. Google has yet to comment on Tuesday’s action, but promised to defend itself against the claims around its Chrome browser.