At a glance.
- Microsoft in talks to buy TikTok.
- EU sanctions against Russian, Chinese, DPRK entities draws Russian ire.
Onshoring to mitigate a security threat.
Microsoft said yesterday that it was in continuing talks to acquire TikTok, the social platform currently owned by Chinese firm's ByteDance. The company attributes its decision to talks between its chairman and US President Trump: "Following a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Donald J. Trump, Microsoft is prepared to continue discussions to explore a purchase of TikTok in the United States." Reuters has reported that ByteDance has agreed to divest its holdings in TikTok to a US owner.
The announcement came after the President's statement Friday, reported in the Washington Post, that he intended, on security grounds to ban TikTok from operating in the US. The security issue arises because of the large quantity of personal information the company collects on its users, including their connections with other users. Whatever the details of any purchase, the Wall Street Journal says that the President suggested that some of the money should go into the US Treasury, given the Government's central role in brokering the deal.
TikTok is unlikely to be the last Chinese software firm to face restrictions on its ability to operate in the US. According to the Los Angeles Times, Secretary of State Pompeo has suggested that other firms will soon be receiving similar close scrutiny.
EU sanctions get US applause and a promise of Russian retaliation.
After the European Union announced sanctions against Russian, Chinese, and North Korean organizations and individuals last week, concentrating on those connected with CloudHopper, WannaCry, NotPetya, and a GRU attempt against the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Representative Jim Langevin (Democrat, Rhode Island 2nd District) applauded the move. He saw it as a positive example of the use of sanctions, and as evidence of growing ability to attribute cyberattacks.
The Russian government, foreseeably, was unhappy with the EU's steps. Reuters reports that the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow would reply in kind, with reciprocal measures. “Of course this unfriendly action by the EU will not be left unanswered,” the Foreign Ministry said. What the answer would be was left unspecified.