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Hashtag Trending Feb. 23 – TikTok’s privacy issues; Apple faces fines; taking U.S. tech giants to court?

TikTok uses device tracking to get full access to user data, Dutch antitrust watchdogs fine Apple, and some groups want the power to take U.S. tech giants to court for breaching landmark EU rules.
That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Wednesday, Feb. 23, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

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TikTok can circumvent security protections on Apple and Google app stores and it uses device tracking that gives TikTok’s parent company ByteDance full access to user data. This was revealed in two studies obtained by TheWrap that seem to confirm concerns raised by privacy experts about the social media app. The studies summarize that TikTok is able to avoid code audits on Google and Apple’s app stores. In addition, the research also revealed that TikTok is able to change the app’s behaviour whenever it wants without users’ knowledge and uses device tracking that gives the company and third parties an all-access pass to user data. According to TheWrap, this exceeds the abilities of U.S.-based apps such as Facebook and Twitter.

The Dutch antitrust watchdog fined Apple 5 million euros. This is the fifth penalty in successive weeks over access to non-Apple payment methods for subscriptions to dating apps. According to The Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), Apple is abusing a dominant market position by failing to allow application makers from the Netherlands to use other payment methods for dating apps accessible through its App Store. The ACM has been giving out weekly fines of 5 million euros since Apple missed a deadline in January to make changes mandated by the watchdog. The Apple store rule which recommends developers to exclusively use its payment system with commissions of 30 per cent has received criticism in several countries.

Individual users should be allowed to take U.S. tech giants to court for breaching landmark EU rules aimed at curbing their power, Privacy International and pan-European consumer group BEUC said yesterday. The call by the coalition of 31 groups and academics comes as EU lawmakers finalized the Digital Markets Act (DMA) proposed by the EU antitrust chief just over a year ago. The DMA draft sets out do’s and don’ts for online gatekeepers, targeting big tech like Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft. According to Reuters, as of now, it only allows business users to sue violating companies.

A dad from France is facing jail time and major fines after taking down an entire town’s network with a signal jammer. Apparently, all he wanted to do is to get his kid off of his phone. From midnight to three in the morning every day of the week, the French town of Messanges was left without internet and mobile connections. After a mobile carrier reported the issue to a public agency responsible for managing the radioelectric spectrum in the country, it was determined that a signal jammer was being used to block radio frequencies in the town. A signal jammer is a device that transmits radio waves on the same frequency as mobile devices to prevent them from connecting to cell towers and receiving legitimate signals. A technician was able to trace the jamming signal to a home in a neighbouring town, where a homeowner admitted to purchasing a jammer online, using it to stop his teenage kids from overusing the internet.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash briefings or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Thursday morning. If you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you for listening, I’m Tom Li.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT World Canada. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at tli@itwc.ca.

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