Expert Pitch
University of California, Irvine

UCI expert can comment on U.S. government and TikTok

Peter Krapp, professor of film & media studies at the University of California, Irvine, is an expert on Internet culture, privacy and cybersecurity.

"TikTok was trying to show its independence to avoid a U.S. ban, but conversely this week, Google, Twitter and Facebook paused cooperation with law enforcement in Hong Kong due to the new law. In anticipation of the coming crackdown on free speech, Hong Kongers flocked to encrypted messaging. Hong Kong's plight in facing the promulgation of Chinese security laws shows why strong encryption matters. For encrypted platforms don't merely protect people from compromise by Chinese and other governments. They also keep freedom of speech alive wherever it is threatened.

"Including, sadly, now, in academia. In a related issue, from a BBC news story, 'Any online information in UK university courses will have to be on a security allow list, which will list all the links to educational materials included in UK course materials.' As this UK university decision illustrates, there cannot be two sets of course materials - one for Chinese students in the UK and one for the rest of the students. In effect, China's restrictions are not only inflicted on Hong Kong, but everyhwhere they use their influence.

"So on the one hand, Pompeo threatens to ban an app in the U.S. because of it Chinese connections. On the other hand, China influences online content in higher education abroad. These things are not only connected to one another, they also show very different approaches to nation-state influence operations in digital media."

 

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Released: 20-Nov-2020 4:25 PM EST
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Released: 16-Nov-2020 2:55 PM EST
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