📱 Time's up for TikTok?

TOGETHER WITH...

In today's email, we've got:

  • the US taking on TikTok

  • why the SRA has shut down four law firms

  • the perfect Christmas gift for any aspiring lawyer

If you take just one thing from this email... 

The US is considering a bill that would ban TikTok over concerns to national security. As TikTok is owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, the US is concerned that TikTok can be compelled to hand over user data to the Chinese government. 

Although the bill is unlikely to pass in the near future, this is not the first time (and will likely not be the last) that a country's government has called TikTok's data security into question.

EDITOR'S RAMBLE 🗣

It's t-minus 5 days to go.

This is not a drill.

If you're anything like me, you've done most of your Christmas shopping but there's always those elusive friends where you just don't know what to get! 

I'll be spending my next five days scrambling through town (and, let's be honest, scouring Amazon Prime) to get those last few people ticked off my Christmas list. 

On the bright side, if you're looking for a gift for someone interested in a law career, we've got you covered - check out our commercial awareness notebook below!

Or don't... alcohol is always a good gift too. 🤷‍♂️ 

- Connor

FEATURED REPORT 📰

📱  Time up for TikTok?

Credit: Giphy

What's going on here?

The US is considering a bill that would ban TikTok over concerns to national security. 

What does this mean?

The bill, named the Anti-Social CCP Act, has been proposed by a group of lawmakers, from both of the main US political parties, which would ban TikTok completely in the country. 

The bill is in its early stages, but would have huge consequences were it to pass. 

Why does the US want to ban TikTok?

During both Donald Trump and Joe Biden's presidencies, the US has had concerns over TikTok. These concerns have nothing to do with trends or content, but rather the nature of the company itself; TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. 

The primary concern for the US is that the Chinese government could access US individuals' data through ByteDance, compromising their privacy and, more generally, national security. The Chinese government would be able to do this as they have laws which can compel any Chinese company to hand over information that it holds.

This comes a month after Chris Wray (the head of the FBI) stated that he was "extremely concerned" over the threat that TikTok poses. Wray claimed that TikTok would not only be able to exploit users' data, but that it could also control individuals' electronic devices. In a number of US states, the app has been banned on government devices.

What does TikTok say?

TikTok is adamant that users' data is safe. It has said that all user data is stored outside of China, which would mean that the Chinese government is unable to compel them to hand anything over.

The company has said that it is not stopping there. It is working on further measures to enhance the security of data and that it will continue to keep the US congress informed of these measures.

TikTok's position is that the bill is a "politically-motivated ban that will do nothing to advance the national security of the United States". It claims that this narrative only serves to depend the divide between the US and China, rather than putting user security at the heart of the issue.

Will the bill pass?

Certainly not anytime soon. The bill is only in its infancy and has a long way to go before it can be passed. Not only does it have to contend with the huge popularity of TikTok (the app has over 100m users in the US) it will also have to show conclusive proof that TikTok is abusing user data. That is a high bar to meet and, as of yet, nothing concrete has been found.

However, this is not the first time that security concerns have been raised over TikTok. Other countries, including Australia, have also questioned TikTok's security and have called for similar bans.

So, even though it is unlikely that this bill will pass in the near future, this is far from the last we'll hear on this matter.

The clock Tiks on...

TOGETHER WITH THE LAWYER SPOT 🤝

Commercial awareness gifting 🎁 

Still getting through your Christmas shopping?

Together with The Lawyer Spot, we've released the perfect gift for any aspiring lawyer (that's right, it's fun AND useful)!

This notebook has got:

  1. the quality of The Lawyer Spot's stationery,

  2. the frameworks of LittleLaw's commercial reports, and

  3. the ability to make improving your commercial awareness (ergh) an actual delight (wow).

A BIT OF FUN 😄

Do you have capacity?

Credit: citylawbois

IN OTHER NEWS 🗞

  • 🙅‍♀️ The SRA shuts down a group of law firms: The SRA has recently stepped in to close down the Metamorph Group. This group consisted of four law firms, all of which had recently failed to pay their employees. Also, many of their staff had also left without being replaced. This has now affected clients which has allowed the SRA to step in, as they can only intervene when client interest is at risk (not law firm employees).

  • 💷 Avanti West Coast has awarded £6.5m in bonuses: The government has recently awarded the train operator Avanti West Coast £6.5m for "operational performance" and "customer experience". This is despite the fact that it was the train company that received the highest number of complaints in 2021, totalling over 9,000. The government's response was that the bonuses were "based on data from before the current period of disruption".

  • 🚨 Goldman Sachs is set to fire 4,000 employees as deals dry up: Investment banking company, Goldman Sachs, has recently seen a downturn in deals. Following this, it is considering a drastic reduction in its staff numbers. The hope is that this reduction, as well as smaller annual bonuses, will help offset the increased costs of business and the fact that it has been unable to secure as many deals as it usually conducts.

AROUND THE WEB 🌐

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