Tech Digest daily round up: TikTok ‘closely controlled by Chinese parent company’

News, Social Media

Former TikTok employees say the hugely popular video app is closely controlled by its Chinese parent company ByteDance, raising privacy concerns that the government in Beijing could leverage the app to collect personal information about Americans as part of its sprawling digital surveillance apparatus. Former employees told CNBC in a new report that key decisions and meetings usually ran through China, and user data was stored inside the country as well. For some, this raises privacy concerns, since China’s National Intelligence Law requires Chinese companies to “support, assist and cooperate with the state intelligence work. If the legal authorities in China or their parent company demands the data, users have already given them the legal right to turn it over,” Bryan Cunningham, executive director of the Cybersecurity Policy & Research Institute at the University of California, Irvine, told CNBC. Independent 

Google has delayed its plan to block third-party cookies from its Chrome internet browser. Cookies track users’ internet activity and allow digital publishers to target advertising. They are already blocked by a number of Google’s rivals, including Apple, Microsoft and Mozilla. But critics say Google’s ban forces ad sellers to go direct to the tech giant for this information instead – giving it an unfair advantage. This is because it plans to replace the system with another one of Google’s own design, which it claims is better for privacy but still allows marketing. Its proposals are already under investigation by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). BBC 

The online lender Zopa plans to take on the £30bn giant Klarna with an expansion into the buy now, pay later sector as it prepares to float in London next year. The company plans to expand further beyond its heritage as a peer-to-peer lender by helping shoppers to stagger the cost of purchases. Zopa will target people making expensive purchases such as gadgets, instead of Klarna’s focus on clothing sales which has helped it to become Europe’s most valuable privately held financial technology business. The buy now, pay later sector has proved controversial in recent years, with some providers facing allegations their customers were unaware they were falling into debt. Zopa hopes to avoid this by following the recommendations made in the Woolard Review of the sector which was commissioned by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Telegraph 

We’re expecting Samsung to reveal a brand new smartwatch very soon, and a new batch of image leaks show it off in its entirety – say hello to the Galaxy Watch 4, which confusingly has been referred to as the Galaxy Watch Active 4 up until this point. Before we get into the naming change, we can point you to the pictures, which have leaked out courtesy of 91mobiles. They show a sleek, stylish wearable in 40mm and 44mm sizes, with what looks like four case color options: black, silver, dark green and rose gold. Some of the key specs of the smartwatch are shown in the pictures too. We can apparently look forward to 5ATM water resistance (so safe to a depth of about 50 meters or 164 feet), as well as MIL-STD 810G military standard durability, GPS, and a Gorilla Glass DX+ screen. Tech Radar 

Following his report that Apple will not be making several expected iPhone 13 upgrades this year, respected Apple analyst and industry insider Ming-Chi Kuo has revealed that Apple’s iPhone 14 is significantly more ambitious. In fact, the news may even be enough for potential iPhone 13 upgraders to change their plans. In a new research note seen by MacRumors, Kuo states that Apple will shake up the iPhone range by scrapping the 5.4-inch iPhone Mini and replacing it with a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Max which will cost less than $900. This would be the first time an iPhone Pro Max-sized model would be available for well under $1,000.  Kuo says that Apple will save money here by cutting back on several features, but the move from Mini to Max is likely to prove highly popular with iPhone users. Forbes 

Chris Price
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