Patriot Games

The Real TikTok Problem

March 15, 2024 Gregg Phillips Season 2 Episode 12
Patriot Games
The Real TikTok Problem
Show Notes Transcript

Are your children safe in the invisible playground of cyberspace? Join me, Gregg Phillips, as we pull back the digital curtain on the TikTok controversy that's sweeping the nation, questioning the ethics of app-based geo-tracking, and delving into the shadowy dealings of data brokers. This episode of Patriot Games isn't just about the headlines; it's a deep dive into the unsettling truth behind the pixels and the urgent call for legislation to safeguard our kids. With seasoned intelligence veterans sharing their insider perspectives, you'll come away with an understanding of the high-stakes games played with our data, and what it might mean for the future of our privacy and security.

Prepare to have your perspectives challenged as we confront the questions everyone's asking: Is banning TikTok the solution, or should we aim for stricter youth policies? I'll also shine a light on the complicity of tech behemoths like Google and Apple in the geolocation data market. Our guests, including intelligence professionals like John David, offer riveting accounts from their careers and insights into the tech that tracks more than just your steps. We're here to arm you with the information you need to navigate this digital landscape, discussing tangible steps that could alter the game for social media and its youngest users. Don't miss this episode of Patriot Games, where we reveal what's really at stake when the next generation logs on.

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Speaker 1:

No matter where you are, you are being watched. In today's world, no one is off the grid. Existing in the modern world has been forever changed. What's out there? Most people don't want to know, but you are about to get clued in. This is Patriot Games. We'll explore different intelligence techniques, spycraft and the latest cutting-edge technology that will blow your mind. We'll introduce you to pros who've spent careers in the Intel community With incredible stories. We'll expose it all. Welcome to Patriot Games. And now your host, greg Phillips.

Speaker 2:

Hey everybody, it's Greg Phillips. Welcome back to Patriot Games. Today we're going to talk a little bit about this TikTok controversy. I'll cover as much as I can, as much as I think about, but there's a lot to consider here. There are multiple sides of this thing. I think what's confusing about it is that we're here on the one hand Remember, president Trump tried to get them to ban it back in, I think, 2020, maybe during the election year and then you've got people we trust saying do it. People we trust saying don't do it. But there are nuances.

Speaker 2:

I think it's a lot more than just do it or not do it, and it all needs to be considered. Let me just start with kids. If they're going to do nothing, then what they ought to do is write a bill that bans kids from using TikTok Period and TikTok is responsible for ensuring that no kids are on TikTok. The idea that they built, the Chinese are tracking them and anybody who buys this data and, as you well know from Mule's and some of our other work, that anybody can buy this data at any time and you can buy TikTok only. You can buy other social media. You can buy these things and the idea that they allow little kids on there to be there and to operate, basically do what they want to do and look at what they want to look at is just not okay. So, straight out of the gate, let me just say that I think TikTok is bad for kids. Frankly, I think social media is bad for kids and they ought to do something about it if they want to do something. So that's number one. Number two this whole notion of geo-tracking at all inside of apps is outrageous. Now, grant you, we make some of our money off of this. We do track bad guys. We find bad guys doing bad things, but there are other ways to do that. I think that app-based tracking and these ad keys and ad exchanges that sell this data. They are shadowy at best. If they want to do something with all of this, then force social media companies or everybody to stop geotracking and remember what geotracking does.

Speaker 2:

Just a simple explanation. You have four satellite signals that make up a GPS clean connect. So the three satellite signals are required to adequately identify geolocation. The fourth one is simply to mark the time that that geolocation was established. And be mindful, it's not your phone that is seeking the geolocation. The GPS tracking mechanisms come out of the satellite into your phone and then it's what your phone does with it. That's the problem. So what happens is you take that geolocation, you grab the time and your app has something called an SDK, a software development kit, in it. It grabs that geolocation in that time potentially elevation, depending on what you're doing or what they want to track and then it stamps into the apps. The apps then take that data and sell it, and sell it through these brokers and so on and so forth. So there's a lot of things at play here. Gps is not the problem. It's how the market is using this.

Speaker 2:

Google and Apple are absolutely fostering all of this, and so I guess what I'm saying is if you're going to do something and you're going to do something meaningful, first thing is stop kids from using the app. I don't care if you ban it. Where does that stop? Right, do you ban all social media apps? Do you ban only kids from using certain social media apps? How do you do it and where does it stop? And, as John David was saying to me earlier, okay, so what happens if they decide well, we don't like TikTok today. Well, what if they decide they don't like true social, or what if they don't like some other social media channel and then they force that sale? I think that we are treading on some really difficult ground here. So young people absolutely ban them from using all social media. And you can get mad at me all you want, I don't care. Ban it, stop it, stop being cowards and just do it. The legislature needs to do it or the Congress needs to do it, no matter what. Whether Biden would sign it or not, who knows but they need to ban kids on social media. It's just the way it is. Second thing that they need to do is if they want to stop all of it and the geo-tracking, then you have to ban the software development kits and Google and Apple from doing geo-tracking. So you got those two things.

Speaker 2:

The rest of this is a little more complicated. Let's take another easy one first, complicated but easy. Do we want to be in the business of banning this app because of the Chinese affiliations? You know part of me that knows that the Chinese people are the ones who have made me and Catherine go to jail, make me say, yeah, let's just ban it. But the problem with it is is you've got all of these apps that are transmitting data to China and even if you didn't, they're buying them from the dark exchanges. So if you're seeking to just stop them from geo-tracking and you're seeking them from getting the metadata inside of it, or you're seeking, you know. Whatever it is you're seeking, you know it's a national security thing. Whatever your issue is, banning one app is dumb If you've been on the internet at all, especially on any kind of social media channel. This T-Mew thing that is China owned, it's 100% China owned. It is one of the most singly invasive apps in all of the world and we don't say anything about that. So why would we allow? Okay, so they're paying for that ad and that means it's okay to track people. There are so many complications here that it's very difficult.

Speaker 2:

The second thing is are we just going to ban that app? Right, we've already banned Huawei, supposedly from working here, but there are Huawei-based solutions laced all through our economy. Let's see there's the China Unicom that Connick ran on, and China Unicom has been banned, but there are two other main China telecom systems that aren't banned, and there are lots of Chinese apps and lots of Chinese affiliated apps that are out there. So where does it stop? And so, if you're going to ban TikTok, where do you stop? Do you stop at TikTok, because that's stupid. If you're going to do it, do all of them.

Speaker 2:

The next piece of this is, I think that this notion, that and this is the capitalist Greg coming out yes, I believe you ought to be able to ban things for national security purposes, but picking out one app from one country is dumb. It's just dumb. There are lots of things happening in Switzerland right now. There are lots of things happening even in Israel. There are lots of things happening all over the world where there are apps being built and then and then flashed in here that are gathering, that are, that are hoovering data out of your phone, out of your, out of your world, out of your life. Ericsson, huge company based in Europe, their affiliations and ties with folks that are not our friends are astoundingly large. They were banned from doing business in the government for some period of time and now that's over, so they're back doing business again.

Speaker 2:

It goes on, and on, and on, and on, and I think that this inane idea that we're going to take a stand against all the bad people in China by banning TikTok is dumb. The Chinese are laughing at us. I mean, they know that they're grabbing all sorts of information from every single other app, and what they can't grab they buy. And we are already the subject of so many of the Chinese social credit system like scoring. And the reason they want to do this, of course, is so that when they send enough fighting people over here, they'll know where we are, they'll know what we're doing, they'll know who has guns, who doesn't have guns and they'll be able to establish how am I going to attack this power grid and how am I going to do that. But they're doing it all based on the aggregation of scoring systems and then the scores. Think of it as scoring patriotism inside of a county.

Speaker 2:

And how likely is it if they go into that county and try to do something bad to the infrastructure, poison the water or turn off the power or do whatever they're going to do, how likely is it that they're all going to get shot and killed? I can tell you, if they go into a place like, let's say, austin County, texas which is not in Austin, by the way, for those of you in real India If you go into a place that's, you know, extremely conservative, and it's very conservative people that are that are all armed everywhere they go, and you knew that. But you could go, maybe, say, a couple of counties to the east and go into Harris County, where it's a lot more friendly and you could do a lot more damage and a lot less likely that you would get hit. Wouldn't that be a good thing to do? So all of this plays into the communist China desire to take over America, and if you don't believe it, you're crazy. That's why I think that just doing one app is stupid.

Speaker 2:

Banning certain types of apps is also fraught with all kinds of problems. Just because you're going to have massive amounts of lawsuits, you know people are going to say in TikToks already saying that, well, china doesn't own this. Well, right, just like they said about Konec. Konec does it? Konec's not a Chinese company, it's owned by a US national. Turns out he's from China and turns out all the data is being transmitted to China.

Speaker 2:

Why just TikTok, is my question. Why? And it really begs the unfortunate part of this conversation that if they force a sale, you know how DC worked. Y'all have seen it all. We don't have to educate you on this. If they force a sale, let's say Congress forces a sale, and they force a sale too, whatever XYZ company, and you don't think that those politicians are going to make bank off of that transaction. They're going to take a little tiny company that they're all going to get rich from. The big VCs and the private equity companies will pony up all the cash. It'll be owned by another leftist company who's going to funnel all that money to Adam Schiff and everybody else in Congress, and we've seen this over and over and over again.

Speaker 2:

I guess my final point here is that there's a lot to consider. There's capitalism Can, then, should they even be able to do this at all? There's the National Security Front of China, but if you want to consider that, then why just that one? Why not all the other Chinese affiliated apps which I might be able to get on board? For You've got this other issue, the more broad issues of allowing geo tracking at all anyway, because they don't have to collect it directly. They can just buy it from the dark web and buy it from these dark brokers, and it just, it just defies logic. The one final point again, dr, beat this up. If you're going to do something.

Speaker 2:

Congress, ban kids from social media. Stop it. Stop this stuff. We've seen it. Why do you think that all these kids are now beating other kids up and it all ends up on TikTok? Right, they know they're on there. I mean, these kids are addicted to the endorphins that are created by these posts, and there's 10 million posts and they're like I'm a badass, you know, and little girls walking around half dressed on on TikTok. It just, it just makes no sense.

Speaker 2:

Broadly, I think that that the answer here is they're never going to get it done by this Congress and this president. I think they're too cowardly on the right and the left. I think that if they want to take something on like banning kids or banning G of tracking inside of apps, that they should do it, but don't do it under the guise of we are going to eliminate TikTok. Eliminating TikTok does not fix the problem. I know you people in Congress that listen to this. You know you're going to call me or you're going to write me and say Greg, it's much more complicated Now.

Speaker 2:

You don't know what you're talking about. Here's what I know. I know that I can go track anyone anywhere on earth. I can buy the data that I need to track anyone. I can track them down to their bedroom. I know who they're sleeping with, I know who they're not sleeping with, I know where they work, I know where they go, I know what they do every single day and that's not OK.

Speaker 2:

When you contemplate that there are kids being tracked, you want to do something to stop child trafficking. Stop G of tracking in these apps. They'll never do it. They'll never do it. They're too big of cowards. They don't understand it. They're not willing to talk about it. They're not willing to fight about it. They listen to the New York Times, say, oh, you can get within 70 feet of that, it's OK. It's OK, let's let them track the kids. I just have no more patience for any of this. My view is they should stop right now, decide what it is they're trying to accomplish and do that Instead of rushing headlong into. Let's ban one company or force the sale of one company so we can all get rich While the surveillance state that is America continues unabated. Thanks so much for joining us today, y'all, and I'll talk to you next week.

Speaker 1:

I'm Matt Kat and to stay up to date, visit the website at patriotgamescom. Until next time, keep your eyes open.