Department of Justice Sues Google over Digital Ads Practices

Google is facing its second antitrust lawsuit from the Department of Justice in two years, over its dominance in the digital ads market, which has seen the tech giant operate in both the buying and selling of ads in addition to running its ad exchange.

The DOJ is joined in its latest lawsuit by the states of California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai

Google CEO Sundar Pichai (pool/Getty)

The new lawsuit, filed on Tuesday, alleges that Google has unfairly tried to control all sides of the digital ads market, operating on both the buying side and the selling side. Google, says the DOJ, sought to be “the be-all, and end-all location for all ad serving.”

“Website creators earn less, and advertisers pay more, than they would in a market where unfettered competitive pressure could discipline prices and lead to more innovative ad tech tools that would ultimately result in higher quality and lower cost transactions for market participants,” says the DOJ lawsuit.

Google’s strategy to dominate digital ads includes acquiring rival ad exchanges and servers, notably its 2008 purchase of DoubleClick. It also included the acquisition of yield management platforms, which allowed publishers to seek better prices outside of Google’s system. Google also changed the terms of its AdX platform to prevent participating publishers from using such tools.

A Google spokesperson defended the tech giant, arguing the DOJ is attempting to “pick winners and losers in the highly competitive advertising technology sector.”

The lawsuit comes amid tough times for Google. Last week, the tech giant announced plans to lay off 12,000 employees as the wider economic downturn in the tech industry. Morale is low among Google employees, who are complaining that their “psychological safety” is at risk.

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.


Robert Kennedy Jr Launches Landmark Legacy Media Lawsuit Over COVID-19 Censorship

Anthony Fauci critic Robert F. Kennedy Jr has launched a landmark lawsuit challenging mainstream media for its blanket censorship of COVID-19 content.

The 68-year-old son of slain 1968 Democrat Presidential hopeful, Bobby Kennedy, along with eleven other plaintiffs, filed the lawsuit on Wednesday against The Washington Post, BBC, Associated Press, and Reuters, demanding trial by jury.

Documents presented to the court, and subsequently made available by the Children’s Health Defense Foundation, describe the lawsuit as both an ‘antitrust action’ and an ‘action to defend freedom of speech and the press.’

The 96-page complaint claims that largely leftist legacy media incorporated and partnered with technocrats Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter, in what the plaintiffs said was a communications cabal named the “Trusted News Initiative (TNI)”.

Kennedy contends that those within the TNI ‘agreed to work together, to exclude from the world’s dominant Internet platforms rival news publishers [who were] reporting on certain issues relating to COVID-19 and U.S. politics.’

Media Monopoly

Labelled as a ‘group boycott,’ lawyers representing Kennedy allege the COVID communications cabal’s crackdown on COVID-19-related content was (is) a blatant violation of the 1890 FTC Sherman Act, which aims to protect free and unfettered competition.

Plaintiffs maintain TNI’s ‘unlawful group boycott’ was:

“a concerted attempt by a group of competitors” to “disadvantage [other] competitors by either directly denying or persuading or coercing suppliers or customers to deny relationships the competitors need in the competitive struggle” or by “cut[ting] off access to a supply, facility, or market necessary to enable the boycotted firm to compete.”

This includes ‘small news publishers’ who need Internet platforms ‘to compete and even to survive in the online news market.’

Further, ‘for all practical purposes, to be denied access to those platforms is to be denied access to the market itself.’

Point 12 of the lawsuit argues that the TNI cabal, while ‘publicly purporting to be a self-appointed “truth police” extirpating online “misinformation”, were, ‘in fact suppressing wholly accurate and legitimate reporting in furtherance of the economic self-interest of its members.’

Kennedy and company also accused legacy media and Big Tech of colluding out of ‘economic self-interest.’

In an explosive claim made in point 18, plaintiffs allege that the “Trusted News Initiativecensored competitors out of fear of competition, not out of concern for the facts.

‘The TNI was spearheaded by legacy news organizations, like the Defendants, fearful of what they themselves described as an “existential threat” to their economic survival.’

Point 18 of the lawsuit reasoned,

‘Thousands of new, rival sources of news threatened to take audience share away from traditional news organizations and to undermine consumers’ trust in those organizations.’

Backing the claims with a quote from the BBC statement, lawyers for Kennedy said,


This was followed by claims the communications cabal,

 ‘Was expressly formed to “impede the free flow of ideas”, to “keep others from publishing”, and to stifle “the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources.”

Lawyers concluded that the Trusted News Initiative was ‘a restraint on trade, and was unreasonable because they suppressed competition in the marketplace of ideas, offending the basic functions which a constitutionally guaranteed free press serves in our nation.’ (pp. 7-8)

Put simply: the COVID cabal rejected free and fair competition, while simultaneously repressing freedom of the press, and the right to free speech.

Social Media Manipulation

Padding their case, lawyers for the plaintiffs referred to influential content providers such as Wired magazine editor-in-chief Nicholas Thompson, who explained,

“Every publisher knows that, at best, they are sharecroppers on Facebook’s massive industrial farm. If Facebook wanted to, it could quietly turn any number of dials that would harm a publisher — by manipulating its traffic, its ad network, or its readers.” (p. 37)

Thompson’s comments joined statements from News Media Alliance president, David Chavern, who admitted,

“No news organization on its own can stand up to the platforms. The risk of demotion or exclusion from the platforms is simply too great.”

Kennedy’s lawsuit ingeniously argues,

‘Those who defend Big Tech censorship frequently assert that de-platformed news publishers remain free to publish whatever they like on their own independent websites.’

‘That’s technically true,’ his lawyers added, ‘but the economic damage from de-platforming — typically a loss of over 90% of traffic — is devastating.’

The economic reality is that ‘exclusion from the world’s dominant Internet platforms means being shut out of the market.’

Summing up, the landmark lawsuit against legacy media stated that ‘all the elements of an ‘unlawful group boycott are present’ in TNI’s COVID cabal monopolising the communications industry.

Returning to previous statements, Kennedy’s legal team damned the collaborative TNI collective, writing,

‘The TNI’s core purpose, from the beginning, was to enlist the Big Tech platforms into a partnership with Legacy News publishers in order to achieve the suppression of competitively threatening online reporting — a suppression that the Legacy News Members could not achieve themselves.’

The lawsuit’s purpose, as outlined in the complaint, is to seek a court order declaring the Trusted News Initiative’s alleged anti-trust activities unlawful.

This coincides with the request for an order demanding the COVID communications cabal cease and desist its harmful boycott and censorship of other online news publishers.

Kennedy’s lawsuit could be a massive gamechanger for newcomers to the fourth estate, a once-proud institution, who, under the motto, “Democracy dies in darkness,” sought to keep bureaucrats accountable, not join them in being compromised by the love of power, money, and politics.

The lawsuit will impact small news organisations that have been at the backhand of Silicon Valley censorship for presenting reasoned viewpoints which question the hegemony’s prevailing political narrative.

Watch this space.

Any legal victory Kennedy wins here might be enough to liberate small news publishers from the insidious practice of shadow-banning — Silicon Valley’s silently abusive shaming control technique.


Also published at Caldron Pool. Photo by furkanfdemir.

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Antitrust Lawsuit Against Legacy Media for Excluding Rivals from Internet Platforms

Antitrust Lawsuit Against Legacy Media for Excluding Rivals from Internet Platforms

ER Editor: This case will be heard in the Federal Court of Texas. Plaintiffs include Dr. Ben TapperDr. Joseph Mercola, Gateway Pundit founder Jim Hoft, independent journalists Ben Swann and Erin Elizabeth Finn and independent news outlets TrialSite News and Creative Destruction Media, and health-freedom activists Ty and Charlene Bollinger, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Children’s Health Defense (CHD).


Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and The Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft Join Together with Several Others In Antitrust Lawsuit Against Legacy Media for Efforts to Exclude Rivals From Internet Platforms


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Sunday Talks, California Democrat Rep Ro Khanna Discusses Twitter-Govt Censorship, Future Hearings and TikTok

When various doctors and professionals in the healthcare industry were kicked off Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and social media platforms for holding a contrary view of the COVID-19 mitigation efforts, their voices found a way to alternate platforms including TikTok.  At the heart of the government argument about TikTock as a national security threat, you will find this dynamic.

The claims of data insecurity as a reason for government action against TikTok is a false justification.  The reason the U.S. govt is defining TikTok as a national security threat is not because a Chinese firm controls it, the threat is because the U.S. government does not control it.  Thus, DHS involvement in Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google, Apple, Microsoft and more takes on a more accurate perspective.  TikTok is not under DHS control, therefore TikTok’s ability to transmit information without DHS filter controls is a threat.

Bread and circuses.  In this interview with California Congressman Ro Khanna, Maria Bartiromo notes he was one of the only Democrats in congress who wrote a warning to Twitter about the censorship issue.  However, even then, a key sentence in the letter from Khanna to Yoel Roth is ignored.  He’s no hero. WATCH:

The DHS Portal – […] discussions have ranged from the scale and scope of government intervention in online discourse to the mechanics of streamlining takedown requests for false or intentionally misleading information.

Platforms have got to get comfortable with gov’t. It’s really interesting how hesitant they remain,” Microsoft executive Matt Masterson, a former DHS official, texted Jen Easterly, a DHS director, in February. (link)

It’s not just the First amendment being compromised by this collaboration, it’s also the Fourth Amendment against unwarranted searches of private papers (communication).


McCarthy: Twitter Disclosures Show Biden Doesn’t Want Free Speech, I Wonder What Facebook, Google Are Hiding

McCarthy: Twitter Disclosures Show Biden Doesn’t Want Free Speech, I Wonder What Facebook, Google Are Hiding

On Friday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Jesse Watters Primetime,” House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) reacted to disclosures on Twitter’s suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story by saying he thinks the disclosures are just the tip of the iceberg, he wonders what internal machinations at Facebook and Google have been hidden, and the disclosures show “why the White House is going after Elon. They do not want him to tell the truth and they do not want to have free speech.”

McCarthy stated, “I expect this is just the beginning. Remember, when you go to a long show, you have episode after episode after episode. He’s just slowly bringing this out. This is going to be a long show. This is episode one, and I think at the end of the day, you’re going to have more viewers than ‘Yellowstone.’ Because, put it in perspective, you’ve got to think about the timing. This is in October. This is just weeks before an election. I never could get a tweet taken down, nor did I ever try. But — so, the campaign’s directly in with Twitter. But also, remember what’s happening, you’ve got the intel. community, 50 people signing a letter saying this is all rubbish, right? It’s all coming from the Kremlin. That’s John Brennan. That’s James Clapper. You’ve got Adam Schiff… telling Wolf Blitzer that this is coming — we’ve known it for so long — from the Kremlin. So, they’re using every power they have. The real question will be, what [do] Facebook and Google have that they’re not bringing forward? Now you know why the White House is going after Elon. They do not want him to tell the truth and they do not want to have free speech.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


Exclusive – Sen. Marsha Blackburn Pushes Bill to Break Apple, Google App Store Duopoly

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview Wednesday that her legislation would break up Apple and Google app store duopoly, which could still pass during Congress’s lame-duck session.

Blackburn spoke to Breitbart News as Apple reportedly was threatening to remove Twitter from the iPhone Apple Store. Musk and Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly described the report as a “misunderstanding,” however, the threat still raises the question of how much power Apple and Google have over the internet ecosystem through their app stores.

In response to the spat between Musk and Cook, Blackburn said Apple and Google have a “stranglehold” over companies, and the two Silicon Valley giants have “used their leverage to bully businesses.” She said her legislation, the Open App Markets Act would “give consumers, not Tim Cook, the choice over whether they can use Twitter.”

In short, the legislation would open access to third-party app stores, as Apple prevents this from happening on their devices, protect the “sideloading” of apps onto phones, and among other things, give consumers more control over their devices.

The bill would, according to, also:

An app is a software application or electronic service that may be run or directed by a user on a computer or mobile device. An app store is a publicly available website, software application, or other electronic service that distributes apps from third-party developers to users.

The bill prohibits a covered company from (1) requiring developers to use an in-app payment system owned or controlled by the company as a condition of distribution or accessibility, (2) requiring that pricing or conditions of sale be equal to or more favorable on its app store than another app store, or (3) taking punitive action against a developer for using or offering different pricing terms or conditions of sale through another in-app payment system or on another app store.

A covered company may not interfere with legitimate business communications between developers and users, use non-public business information from a third-party app to compete with the app, or unreasonably prefer or rank its own apps (or those of its business partners) over other apps.

The bill provides for enforcement of its provisions by the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice, as well as through suits brought by developers that are injured by reason of anything prohibited by this bill.

The legislation has bipartisan backing. Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) have cosponsored the bill. The legislation has 14 cosponsors and the bill was advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously.

As Congress approaches its lame-duck session, Blackburn said the bill could still go through Congress.

Blackburn said:

What this would do is empower the consumer and it would break that monopoly that Apple and Google have had on the apps right now. You know, if you’ve got an iPhone, Tim Cook gets to decide what kind of apps you’re going to have on that phone. They take 30% of the profit on the apps, and the innovator is then left with their portion of it. And they’re not able to communicate directly with the consumer. Everything is going through Apple.

The Tennessee conservative said Apple and Google make a significant amount of money through their app stores, which is why they do not want this bill, which would empower consumers to have control over their phones and apps, to be passed.

She added, “That’s why they do not want this bill to move forward, because they want to control everything that goes on your phone.”

Many technology groups, consumer groups, and telecommunications experts support the legislation, such as Zach Graves, the executive director of the Lincoln Network, Joel Thayer, the president of the Digital Progress Institute, Jon Schweppe, the director of government affairs at the American Principles Project, and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Brendan Carr.

“I applaud Senator Blackburn, Senator Blumenthal, and Senator Klobuchar for their leadership in working to rein in Big Tech,” Carr said in a statement in August 2021. “The gatekeeper power that corporate behemoths now exercise over the app economy is harming consumers and competition. This legislation is a thoughtful way to eliminate those harms while promoting innovation.”

Blackburn said the bill should quickly move out of the Senate, House, and onto the president’s desk to sign.

“It is the right thing to do. It should be taken to the Senate floor, UC’d [unanimous consent], clear the House, and go to the president’s desk,” Blackburn said.

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.


A GOP With Backbone Would Support Elon Musk, Punish Apple, And Fight For Free Speech On Twitter

A GOP With Backbone Would Support Elon Musk, Punish Apple, And Fight For Free Speech On Twitter

Apple’s threat to remove Twitter from its App store for the crime of being a slightly more open forum for free speech under Elon Musk has been met with a chorus of outrage and substantive threats of congressional action by Republican leaders.

Just kidding. Republicans have barely said anything about it, and establishment Republicans have said nothing at all. With the exception of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who offered his opinion on a matter outside his purview as a governor, Apple’s threat to crush Twitter has been met more or less with silence, even from members of the GOP who consider themselves conservative. (Sen. Mike Lee, to his credit, tossed out a tweet saying Apple’s threat makes the case for the Open Apps Markets Act. But he’s the exception to the rule.) And though Apple leaders apparently smoothed over the “misunderstanding” with Musk on Wednesday afternoon, we have all seen this pattern: Big Tech’s anti-speech aggression always turns out to be a “mistake” or “misunderstanding” as soon as enough people notice.

This is why I’ve argued that actual conservatives, those who want to save the country and restore republic self-government, should stop calling themselves conservatives. At this point, the label amounts to an admission of failure and defeat, and might as well be the official title of those who desire above all to be the controlled opposition for a permanent leftist regime. 

The Apple situation perfectly illustrates why conservatives need to swap out their old labels for new ones even as they swap out old ways of thinking about government power for a candid recognition of new realities and new imperatives.

In this case, Apple and its CEO, Tim Cook, are squarely on the side of authoritarianism, here and abroad. They are certainly on the side of communist China, which right now is trying hard to suppress mass protests over the CCP’s draconian “zero Covid” policy. Chinese President Xi Jinping sent tanks into the eastern city of Xuzhou this week — not that you’ll read much coverage about it in the corporate press.

As it happens, China is working to quash protests and suppress free speech with Apple’s help. Earlier this month, news broke that the company eliminated the AirDrop wireless file-sharing on iPhones in China after the feature was used by protesters to coordinate and share information. For their part, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., wrote a letter to Cook, branding Apple’s operations in China “unconscionable” and calling on the CEO to work toward halting them; Florida’s Marco Rubio, who is a co-sponsor on the Open Apps Markets Act with Hawley, chimed in with an anodyne tweet; and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, echoed what’s been abundantly clear: “Apple is fully in bed with Communist China.”

Since Apple is an active collaborator with China’s police state, it’s no surprise that Apple is also on the side of an increasingly authoritarian Democrat Party and a Biden administration that seems eager to use Big Tech to suppress online speech. Consider White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s recent comment that the administration is “keeping a close eye” on Twitter and Musk, “monitoring” the social media giant to ensure it suppresses “misinformation” and “hate.” And you know what that means. 

Given all this, it should be easy for Republican leaders like Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to come out swinging against Apple and in defense of Twitter and Musk, to propose legislation that breaks up tech giants such as Apple and Google, treats them as common carriers, or at the very least requires Apple and Google to make it easier for app developers to connect with customers directly, as the Open Apps Markets bill would do.

But the old conservatism remains so in thrall to free market libertarianism and big business that it cannot even contemplate any of that, which means that it has effectively outlived its usefulness and we should be done with it. The only kind of Republicans we need now are those who recognize not just that the left has captured our institutions but that for at least the last half-century it has been building a tyranny machine in the form of an aggressive administrative state, which is now colluding with the most powerful tech companies in the world to suppress speech, rig elections, and support authoritarianism abroad.

This fusion of the administrative state with Big Tech threatens to replace republican self-government with an unaccountable federal bureaucracy. Indeed, that process is already well underway. Those on the right who repose some hope in the Supreme Court stopping it are being naïve. The court has proven itself unwilling to smash this tyranny machine — and even if it tried, the left has signaled its willingness to pack the court if it feels its revolutionary project is truly under threat.

The task at hand, then, is nothing less than the restoration of republican self-government and the revival of first principles in American civic life. To do that, we need a plan to revive the other two badly atrophied branches of government so they can dismantle the federal bureaucracy or, where necessary and possible, use it as an instrument of renewal.

McCarthy, or whoever ends up as the next Republican speaker of the House, will have such a slender GOP majority that it will be limited to investigating the administrative state and blocking the Biden administration’s legislative agenda. It would be a monumental mistake to pursue any kind of bipartisan cooperation with the Democratic Party on any issue. It would likewise be a mistake to ignore calls to investigate and impeach Attorney General Merrick Garland and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. 

Asked about these things recently, McCarthy betrayed a fundamental misunderstanding of the problem, saying, “I think the country wants to heal and … start to see the system that actually works.”

But the system cannot work as long as Garland can use the Justice Department as a political weapon, branding parents who speak out at school board meetings as “domestic terrorists” and sending the FBI to raid the homes of anti-abortion activists. The system cannot work when the DOJ is allowed to deploy a geofence dragnet warrant to intercept the communications and location data for thousands of peaceful protesters on Jan. 6, making a mockery of the Fourth Amendment. It cannot work as long as Mayorkas is free to ignore federal immigration law and maintain a de facto open border. And it cannot work if Apple and the White House are allowed to attack Twitter because Elon Musk decided to make it marginally more open to free speech.

There is a war underway for America’s future, and right now only one political party is fighting it. The political and cultural project of the left constitutes a cancer that’s killing our republic and must be cut out. It’s time for Republicans to start talking and acting like they understand that, or step aside and take their place in the ranks of a failed conservative movement. 

John Daniel Davidson is a senior editor at The Federalist. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Claremont Review of Books, The New York Post, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter, @johnddavidson.


Why Are We Allowing Dangerous Chinese Tech Companies To Operate On American Soil?

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is synonymous with espionage. The country’s tech companies, we’re told, give the CCP a vital edge. Companies include the likes of Baidu and Alibaba. Why, then, are both operating on U.S. soil?

Alibaba is China’s answer to Amazon. The Chinese multinational technology company specializes in e-commerce, retail, internet, and technology, to name just a few areas. The problematic company has a business presence in dozens of countries, including the United Kingdom, South Korea, Singapore, Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. The fact that Alibaba, very much an ally of the CCP, is operating in the U.S., China’s fiercest rival, is worrisome, to say the least.

It certainly worries Charles Dunst, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Dunst recently wrote an eye-opening article that revolved around a rather sobering shopping experience. Earlier this year, the researcher was shopping at a CVS near his apartment in Virginia. At the self-checkout counter, he scanned for payment options; besides cash and credit/debit cards, other options included Apple Pay, PayPal, and Alipay, Alibaba’s online payment platform. This made Dunst stop and think.

In truth, American retailers have been offering the Alipay option of payment for years, all in an effort to attract more Chinese tourists. The app has at least 4 million users in the United States. Initially, as Dunst noted, the Alipay payment option was confined to luxury shops, “to capture the spending of well-off Chinese tourists.” However, the platform quickly expanded into your average, everyday American stores, like Walgreens, 7/11, and the aforementioned CVS.

Interestingly, some of the biggest cities in the United States now allow riders to pay their taxi fares using the app. As Dunst highlights, although this expansion is heavily focused on serving the needs of Chinese visitors, “Alipay’s presence at the center of ordinary U.S. commerce will expand the platform’s brand awareness among U.S. shoppers, possibly even winning a few adoptees in the process.”

In her new book, aptly titled, “Trafficking Data: How China is Winning the Battle for Digital Sovereignty,” Aynne Kokas discusses just why the expansion of companies like Alibaba in the United States should be of genuine concern to the country’s leaders. Alibaba is first and foremost a tech company. And what do tech companies love? Data. Lots of it. Similarly, the CCP also loves data, especially Americans’ data. 

Kokas, an associate professor of media studies at the University of Virginia, demonstrates how the CCP capitalizes on this data flow for political gain. A company as powerful as Alibaba can contribute greatly to data trafficking, by moving inordinate amounts of data out of the United States and back to China. This creates an environment that “not only exploits consumers,” but completely “empowers the Chinese government,” Kokas notes.

Like Kokas, Dunst believes that the United States’ failure to effectively “regulate data gathering by tech firms operating in the United States at the federal level has allowed firms from around the world to gather huge amounts of data on Americans.” In the case of CCP-backed firms, he argues, we shouldn’t be surprised if even more data ends up in the hands of those in Beijing. 

To be clear, Alibaba is very much in the business of helping the CCP. Last year, the company established a corporate CCP committee. At the company’s head office in Beijing, 30 percent of employees are CCP members.

Then, there’s Baidu, China’s answer to Google. Headquartered in Beijing’s Haidian District, the Chinese multinational technology company specializes in internet-related services and artificial intelligence (AI). China has aspirations of stealing the global AI crown, currently worn by the United States. To do this though, the CCP may have to steal even more of the United States’ intellectual property.

In its quest for AI dominance, China is looking to companies like Baidu for assistance. The fact that Baidu has a huge R&D center in Silicon Valley is more than a little disconcerting. As its LinkedIn page describes, Baidu USA’s “team of elite, world-class researchers and engineers devote their time to tackling the most challenging, change-the-world projects in AI and related fields.”

In a recent testimony before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, FBI Director Christopher Wray stated that China poses the greatest threat to our national security. The CCP, he said, “aspires to equal or surpass the U.S. as a global superpower and influence the world with a value system shaped by undemocratic, authoritarian ideals.”

Wray seemed particularly concerned about TikTok, an app that both Democrats and Republicans have been sounding the alarm on as a major security threat for years. Just this week, Senate Intelligence Committee chair Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, told Fox News Sunday, “All of that data that your child is inputting and receiving, is being stored somewhere in Beijing.” Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Mike Gallagher said they’re both introducing legislation this month to ban TikTok from use in the United States.

Wray told lawmakers that he is “extremely concerned” about TikTok’s operations in the United States, and he should be. Close to a quarter of the U.S. population now uses the app. ByteDance, the company behind TikTok, has five offices in the United States. The increased pressure on TikTok from leaders is encouraging, but we shouldn’t forget that other threats exist. The likes of Baidu and Alibaba deserve similar pressure and much more scrutiny.

Unlike previous wars, the next one won’t be decided by boots on the ground or bomber planes in the sky. It will be decided by technology, advances in AI, quantum computing, cyber breaches, data harvesting, and so forth. These are areas that China excels. The United States must wake up before it’s too late.

Allowing dangerous Chinese companies that specialize in tech to operate unsupervised across America is, at best, unwise. At worst, it could prove to be a catastrophically costly mistake. Banning TikTok is a good start, but we must take on the likes of Alibaba and Baidu as well.

John Mac Ghlionn is a researcher and cultural commentator. Follow him on Twitter, @ghlionn



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