REPORTS: US LAUNCHES REVIEW OF CHINA-OWNED VIDEO APP TIKTOK
UNDATED (AP) _ U.S. government has reportedly launched a national-security review of the Chinese-owned video app TikTok, which is popular with millions of U.S. teens and young adults.
The reports say that the interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which reviews acquisitions by foreign firms, has opened an inquiry into TikTok owner ByteDance's 2017 acquisition of a predecessor app, Musical.ly.
Several senators have recently noted concerns about censorship and data collection on TikTok.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) last month sent a letter to the Treasury Department requesting a review of the national-security implications of the Musical.ly deal, saying there is "ample and growing evidence" that TikTok is censoring content that is not in line with the Chinese government. Rubio questioned why the app had so few videos of the recent protests in Hong Kong.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also asked the U.S. intelligence community to assess national-security risks of TikTok and other Chinese-owned content platforms in the U.S last month. They said that while TikTok says it stores U.S. user data in the U.S., the company must still adhere to Chinese law on supplying information to the Chinese government. Similar accusations have also been leveled against other Chinese companies, including Huawei (WAH'-way).
GOOGLE PARENT ALPHABET BUYING FITBIT FOR ABOUT $2.1B
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Fitbit is being acquired by Google's parent company for about $2.1 billion.
With the deal announced Friday, Alphabet wades into a very crowded field. Fitbit is a pioneer in wearable fitness technology, but it's been under pressure from other device makers.
Speculation swirled at the beginning of the week that a deal might be imminent. Premarket trading of shares of San Francisco-based Fitbit Inc. were briefly halted before the acquisition was announced.
Alphabet said it will pay $7.35 per share for the company.
The deal is expected to close next year if approved by regulators and Fitbit shareholders.
FLORIDA POLICE OBTAIN AMAZON ALEXA RECORDINGS IN DEATH CASE
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Police in South Florida think there may have been a witness to a homicide and are trying to get "her" to talk.
Hallandale Beach officials say the Amazon Echo or a similar device was in a home where a woman was slain in July.
The Sun Sentinel reports that the device might have heard and recorded more than a shopping order in the house of Silvia Galva and her boyfriend, Adam Reechard Crespo. Galva died with a spear through her chest.
Crespo told police it happened inadvertently. He's charged with first degree murder and is out on a $65,000 bond.
Officials say Amazon turned over multiple recordings, neither the company, police, nor the State Attorney's Office will say what was on them.
MIDWEST'S 1ST CYBER BATTALION TO BE BASED IN INDIANA
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana will be home to the nation's newest National Guard cyber battalion.
State officials say the 127th Cyber Battalion of about 100 soldiers will be trained in cyber security and cyber warfare at the Muscatatuck (muhs-KAT'-ah-tuhk) Urban Training Center, about 75 miles southeast of Indianapolis.
Army National Guard officials say they chose Indiana's force for its existing cyber capabilities, partnerships with industry and academia, and the ability to recruit and retain soldiers.
Indiana’s Governor Eric Holcomb says the state is a "natural fit" for the first cyber battalion in the Midwest. The battalion is expected to be fully operational by 2022.
There are four other cyber battalions in the country: two in Virginia, one in South Carolina and another in Massachusetts.