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China Revises Law To Put Itself in Control of Whether TikTok Can Be Sold To an American Company

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  • China revised a law on Friday that it had not changed since 2008 in an attempt to stop TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, from selling the app to a foreign company without the Chinese government’s permission. 
  • ByteDance announced Sunday that it would “strictly abide” by the new law. 
  • CNBC reported that ByteDance has agreed to a deal and that the details of that agreement could be made available as soon as Tuesday; however, China’s new rule could complicate any potential deal. 

China’s Revises Law Ahead of TikTok Deal

A new law in China could potentially complicate or even halt the sale of TikTok to an American company. 

On Friday, the Chinese government revised its rules around the sale of certain types of technology to foreign buyers in an attempt to “formalize the management of technology export” and “protect national security.”

The list of changes includes data processing, speech, and text recognition — all tech that TikTok uses in its app.

China’s rule change never directly mentions TikTok or even its parent company, ByteDance, but this is the first time those rules have been revised since 2008. The change would likely require ByteDance to obtain government permission before selling TikTok to a foreign company. 

Speaking to state-run news agency Xinhua, trade expert Cui Fan said that ByteDance should “seriously and carefully consider whether it is necessary to suspend substantive negotiations on relevant transactions.”

“For the international business to continue to operate smoothly, no matter who its new owner and operator are,” Cui told the agency, “it is highly likely that there will need to be a transfer of software codes or right of use from inside China to outside China.”

According to Bloomberg News, it could take up to 30 days for ByteDance to get the green light to export AI.

Why Did China Change the Rules?

China doubled down on criticism of the United States Monday by accusing the U.S. government of “abusing the national security concept and state power to suppress specific businesses of other countries.”

“The U.S.’s attempt to take economic bullying and political manipulation against non-American companies, whether it is politically coerced transaction or government enforced transaction, is no different from plundering,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said.

In an interview with CNN Business, Anupam Chander, a law professor at Georgetown University, said that the law change is essentially a way for China “to exert some leverage over the situation.”

“Beijing wants to protect its ascending status in global technology,” Political economist Shirley Yu also told the outlet. 

Yu added that if the U.S. were to succeed in buying TikTok, “China would be concerned that, as its technology companies continue to ascend, more Chinese companies… might be targeted by the United States in a similar way.”

TikTok Bidder Has Reportedly Been Chosen

ByteDance responded Sunday by announcing that it will “strictly abide” by China’s rule change. 

There has been massive anticipation for a deal to be reached. On Monday, CNBC reported that a bidder has been chosen for TikTok’s U.S., New Zealand, and Australian businesses. According to sources who spoke to the outlet, that deal could be announced as soon as Tuesday.

That follows a similar report from Fox Business that later turned out to be inaccurate. On Friday, Fox predicted that confirmation of a signed and binding deal to purchase U.S. assets of TikTok could have come as early as this past weekend. 

Still, the deadline for ByteDance to reach a deal in the U.S. is rapidly approaching. On August 14, President Donald Trump signed an order requiring ByteDance to divest away from U.S. TikTok operations within 90 days. If that doesn’t happen, the app could essentially be banned in the U.S.

“There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance… might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States,” the president said in the order.

TikTok has repeatedly denied that claim, saying that U.S. user data is stored domestically with a backup in Singapore. It’s also affirmed that its data centers for U.S. users are located outside of China. 

According to analysts, there are currently two front-runners in the race to acquire TikTok: the software company Oracle, as well as Microsoft, which has now teamed up with Walmart. 

Over the weekend, reports surfaced that TikTok’s rival-app, Triller, had submitted a $20 billion bid for the company; however, there has been ample confusion since, as a spokesperson for TikTok later denied that claim. 

“We can confirm that we are not and will not be in talks with them,” the spokesperson said. “Still, we are flattered by how much they admire TikTok.”

On Monday, Triller Executive Chair Bobby Sarnevesht denied that Triller’s claim was part of a publicity stunt and affirmed that the company had submitted a bid to buy TikTok. 

“Our bid is submitted,” he said to CNBC. “We have confirmation that the chairman and people pretty high up at ByteDance are aware of it. And we have correspondence going. I know they are considering what the next step is to do.”

Following his comments, ByteDance and TikTok again said refuted the claim, saying that they are unaware of any such bid and that no one from either company has even spoken to Triller on the matter. 

Experts expect the winning bidder to shell out anywhere from $20 to $30 billion for TikTok.

See what others are saying: (CNN Business) (CNBC) (The Verge)

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Hackers Hit Twitch Again, This Time Replacing Backgrounds With Image of Jeff Bezos

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The hack appears to be a form of trolling, though it’s possible that the infiltrators were able to uncover a security flaw while reviewing Twitch’s newly-leaked source code.


Bezos Prank

Hackers targeted Twitch for a second time this week, but rather than leaking sensitive information, the infiltrators chose to deface the platform on Friday by swapping multiple background images with a photo of former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. 

According to those who saw the replaced images firsthand, the hack appears to have mostly — and possibly only — affected game directory headers. Though the incident appears to be nothing more than a surface-level prank, as Amazon owns Twitch, it could potentially signal greater security flaws. 

For example, it’s possible the hackers could have used leaked internal security data from earlier this week to discover a network vulnerability and sneak into the platform. 

The latest jab at the platforms came after Twitch assured its users it has seen “no indication” that their login credentials were stolen during the first hack. Still, concerns have remained regarding the potential for others to now spot cracks in Twitch’s security systems.

It’s also possible the Bezos hack resulted from what’s known as “cache poisoning,” which, in this case, would refer to a more limited form of hacking that allowed the infiltrators to manipulate similar images all at once. If true, the hackers likely would not have been able to access Twitch’s back end. 

The photo changes only lasted several hours before being returned to their previous conditions. 

First Twitch Hack 

Despite suspicions and concerns, it’s unclear whether the Bezos hack is related to the major leak of Twitch’s internal data that was posted to 4chan on Wednesday.

That leak exposed Twitch’s full source code — including its security tools — as well as data on how much Twitch has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019. 

It also revealed Amazon’s at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library, codenamed Vapor, which would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.

Even though Twitch has said its login credentials appear to be secure, it announced Thursday that it has reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Users are still being urged to change their passwords and update or implement two-factor authentication if they haven’t already. 

See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Forbes) (CNET)

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Twitch Blames Server Configuration Error for Hack, Says There’s No Indication That Login Info Leaked

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The platform also said full credit card numbers were not reaped by hackers, as that data is stored externally. 


Login and Credit Card Info Secure

Twitch released a security update late Wednesday claiming it had seen “no indication” that users’ login credentials were stolen by hackers who leaked the entire platform’s source code earlier in the day.

“Full credit card numbers are not stored by Twitch, so full credit card numbers were not exposed,” the company added in its announcement.

The leaked data, uploaded to 4chan, includes code related to the platform’s security tools, as well as exact totals of how much it has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019. 

Early Thursday, Twitch also announced that it has now reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Streamers looking for their new keys can visit a dashboard set up by the platform, though users may need to manually update their software with the new key before being able to stream again depending on what kind of software they use.

As far as what led to the hackers being able to steal the data, Twitch blamed an error in a “server configuration change that was subsequently accessed by a malicious third party,” confirming that the leak was not the work of a current employee who used internal tools. 

Will Users Go to Other Streaming Platforms?

While no major creators have said they are leaving Twitch for a different streaming platform because of the hack, many small users have either announced their intention to leave Twitch or have said they are considering such a move. 

It’s unclear if the leak, coupled with other ongoing Twitch controversies, will ultimately lead to a significant user exodus, but there’s little doubt that other platforms are ready and willing to leverage this hack in the hopes of attracting new users. 

At least one big-name streamer has already done as much, even if largely only presenting the idea as a playful jab rather than with serious intention. 

“Pretty crazy day today,” YouTube’s Valkyrae said on a stream Wednesday while referencing a tweet she wrote earlier the day.

“YouTube is looking to sign more streamers,” that tweet reads. 

I mean, they are! … No shade to Twitch… Ah! Well…” Valkyrae said on stream before interrupting herself to note that she was not being paid by YouTube to make her comments. 

See what others are saying: (Engadget) (BBC) (Gamerant)

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The Entirety of Twitch Has Been Leaked Online, Including How Much Top Creators Earn

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The data dump, which could be useful for some of Twitch’s biggest competitors, could signify one of the most encompassing platform leaks ever.


Massive Collection of Data Leaked 

Twitch’s full source code was uploaded to 4chan Wednesday morning after it was obtained by hackers.

Among the 125 GB of stolen data is information revealing that Amazon, which owns Twitch, has at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library. That library, codenamed Vapor, would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.

With Amazon being the all-encompassing giant that it is, it’s not too surprising that it would try to develop a Steam rival, but it’s eyecatching news nonetheless considering how much the release of Vapor could shake up the market.

The leaked data also showcased exactly how much Twitch has paid its creators, including the platform’s top accounts, such as the group CriticalRole, as well as steamers xQcOW, Tfue, Ludwig, Moistcr1tikal, Shroud, HasanAbi, Sykkuno, Pokimane, Ninja, and Amouranth.

These figures only represent payouts directly from Twitch. Each creator mentioned has made additional money through donations, sponsorships, and other off-platform ventures. Sill, the information could be massively useful for competitors like YouTube Gaming, which is shelling out big bucks to ink deals with creators. 

Data related to Twitch’s internal security tools, as well as code related to software development kits and its use of Amazon Web Services, was also released with the hack. In fact, so much data was made public that it could constitute one of the most encompassing platform dumps ever.

Creators Respond

Streamer CDawgVA, who has just under 500,000 subscribers on Twitch, tweeted about the severity of the data breach on Wednesday.

“I feel like calling what Twitch just experienced as “leak” is similar to me shitting myself in public and trying to call it a minor inconvenience,” he wrote. “It really doesn’t do the situation justice.”

Despite that, many of the platform’s top streamers have been quite casual about the situation.

“Hey, @twitch EXPLAIN?”xQc tweeted. Amouranth replied with a laughing emoji and the text, “This is our version of the Pandora papers.” 

Meanwhile, Pokimane tweeted, “at least people can’t over-exaggerate me ‘making millions a month off my viewers’ anymore.”

Others, such as Moistcr1tikal and HasanAbi argued that their Twitch earning are already public information given that they can be easily determined with simple calculations. 

Could More Data Come Out?

This may not be the end of the leak, which was labeled as “part one.” If true, there’s no reason to think that the leakers wouldn’t publish a part two. 

For example, they don’t seem to be too fond of Twitch and said they hope this data dump “foster[s] more disruption and competition in the online video streaming space.”

They added that the platform is a “disgusting toxic cesspool” and included the hashtag #DoBetterTwitch, which has been used in recent weeks to drive boycotts against the platform as smaller creators protest the ease at which trolls can use bots to spam their chats with racist, sexist, and homophobic messages.

Still, this leak does appear to lack one notable set of data: password and address information of Twitch users.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the leakers don’t have it. It could just mean they are only currently interested in sharing Twitch’s big secrets. 

Regardless, Twitch users and creators are being strongly urged to change their passwords as soon as possible and enable two-factor authentication.

See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Video Games Chronicle) (Kotaku)

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