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TX Gov Abbott latest in line of government officials to ban TikTok

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott is the latest politician to ban the popular social media platform TikTok from all government-issued devices. all government-issued cell phones, laptops, tablets, and desktops are to be included in the ban in order to protect sensitive government information.

“TikTok harvests vast amounts of data from its users’ devices — including when, where, and how they conduct internet activity — and offers this trove of potentially sensitive information to the Chinese government,” Abbott said in a letter to state officials.

Just last week, FBI Director Chris Wray warned that the Chinese government could use TikTok to manipulate content or users, as well as gain access to private information. He also noted the Chinese Communist Party does not share the same values as the United States, claiming that it is something “that should concern us.”

Also this week, Indiana’s attorney general, Todd Rotika, sued TikTok for “allegedly deceiving users about how the Chinese government can access their data” reports adn America. 

Just one day prior, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced a similar ban on TikTok, and for Chinese technology companies Huawei and ZTE.

TikTok responded directly to Hogan’s ban, stating:

“We believe the concerns driving these decisions are largely fueled by misinformation about our company. We are happy to continue having constructive meetings with state policymakers to discuss our privacy and security practices. We are disappointed that many state agencies, offices, and universities will no longer be able to use TikTok to build communities and connect with constituents.”

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China

Analysis: Biden unlikely to sanction Iran’s oil exports, gas prices ‘critical during an election year’

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Analysts say President Joe Biden is unlikely to “prompt dramatic sanctions action on Iran’s oil exports” due to “worries about boosting oil prices and angering top buyer China” according to Reuters.

Speaking to Fox News on Sunday, House Republican Representative Steve Scalise, said the administration had made it easier for Iran to sell its oil, generating revenues that were being used to “go fund terrorist activity.”

The Biden administration has maintained for months that among its primary goals is to keep the Gaza conflict between terror group Hamas and Israel from turning into a wider regional war. However, House Republican leaders accused President Joe Biden of failing to enforce existing measures and said they would take up this week a series of bills to sharpen sanctions on Iran.

Kimberly Donovan, a sanctions and anti-money laundering expert at the Atlantic Council, said that oil-related sanctions have not been strictly enforced in the past couple of years.

“I would not expect the administration to tighten enforcement in response to Iran’s missile and drone attacks against Israel over the weekend, mainly for concerns (that) could lead to increases in oil prices,” she said.

“The price of oil and ultimately the prices of gas at the pump become critical during an election year.”
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