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Gap grows between TikTok users, lawmakers on potential ban

Gap grows between TikTok users, lawmakers on potential ban

NEW YORK - On the one side are dozens of lawmakers on Capitol Hill issuing dire warnings about security breaches and possible Chinese surveillance.

On the other are some 150 million TikTok users in the U.S. who just want to be able to keep making and watching short, fun videos offering makeup tutorials and cooking lessons, among other things.

The disconnect illustrates the uphill battle that lawmakers from both sides of the aisle face in trying to convince the public that China could use TikTok as a weapon against the American people. But many users on the platform are more concerned about the possibility of the government taking away their favorite app.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew said during a nearly six-hour congressional hearing Thursday that the platform has never turned over user data to the Chinese government, and wouldn’t do so if asked.

Nevertheless, lawmakers, the FBI and officials at other agencies continue to raise alarms that Chinese law compels Chinese companies like TikTok’s parent company ByteDance to fork over data to the government for whatever purposes it deems to involve national security. There’s also concern Beijing might try to push pro-China narratives or misinformation through the platform.

Twitter hunts GitHub user who posted source code online

NEW YORK - Some parts of Twitter’s source code - the fundamental computer code on which the social network runs - were leaked online, the social media company said in a legal filing that was first reported by The New York Times.

According to the legal document, first filed with the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California on Friday, Twitter had asked GitHub, an internet hosting service for software development, to take down the code where it was posted. The platform complied and said the content had been disabled, according to the filing.

Twitter, based in San Francisco, noted in the filing that the postings infringe on copyrights held by Twitter.

The company also asked the court to identify the alleged individual or group that posted the information without Twitter’s authorization. It’s seeking names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, social media profile data and IP addresses associated with the user account “FreeSpeechEnthusiast” which is suspected of being behind the leak. The name is an apparent reference to Twitter’s billionaire owner, Elon Musk, who described himself as a free speech absolutist.

Is the David porn? Come see, Italians tell Florida parents

ROME - The Florence museum housing Michelangelo’s Renaissance masterpiece the David on Sunday invited parents and students from a Florida charter school to visit after complaints about a lesson featuring the statue forced the principal to resign.

Florence Mayor Dario Nardella also tweeted an invitation for the principal to visit so he can personally honor her. Confusing art with pornography was “ridiculous,” Nardella said.

The board of the Tallahassee Classical School pressured Principal Hope Carrasquilla to resign last week after an image of the David was shown to a sixth-grade art class. The school has a policy requiring parents to be notified in advance about “controversial” topics being taught.

The incredulous Italian response highlighted how the U.S. culture wars are often perceived in Europe, where despite a rise in right-wing sentiment and governance, the Renaissance and its masterpieces, even its naked ones, are generally free of controversy. Sunday’s front page of the Italian daily publication Corriere della Sera featured a cartoon by its leading satirist depicting David with his genitals covered by an image of Uncle Sam and the word “Shame.”

North Korea test-fires 2 more missiles as US sends carrier

SEOUL, South Korea - A nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier and its battle group began exercises with South Korean warships on Monday, hours after North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles in an apparent protest of the allies’ expanding drills.

The seventh missile test this month underscored heightening tensions in the region as both the North’s weapons tests and the U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises have intensified in a cycle of tit-for-tat.

The launches may have been timed for the arrival of the USS Nimitz and its strike group, including a guided missile cruiser and two destroyers, which engaged in air defense exercises and other drills with South Korean warships in waters near Jeju island.

Jang Do Young, a South Korean navy spokesperson, said the drills were aimed at sharpening joint operational capabilities and demonstrating the U.S. commitment to defend its ally with the full range of options, including nuclear, in face of the North’s “escalating nuclear and missile threats.” The Nimitz strike group was expected to arrive in the South Korean mainland port of Busan on Tuesday.

- The Associated Press

Supporters of TikTok hold signs during a rally to defend the app, Wednesday, March 22, 2023, at the Capitol in Washington. The House holds a hearing Thursday, with TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew about the platform's consumer privacy and data security practices and impact on kids. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Texas, arrives for an event to call for the banning of TikTok, the hugely popular video-sharing app, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, March 23, 2023. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)