US Steps Up TikTok Ban Threat; iPhones-1st Price Hike since iPhone X?; Microsoft Patches Year-Old Zero Day Hack; FCC Officials Had Forbidden Telecom Stock

We just reported yesterday that ByteDance was thinking of divesting of TikTok due to US threats to ban the app nationwide. Now, Reuters reports that President Biden has demanded that the Chinese firm divests of their stake in the app or face a possible US ban. Donald Trump tried to ban the app in 2020, but was blocked by US courts. ByteDance claims that 60% of TikTok shares are owned by global investors, 20% by employees, and 20% by the app’s founders. As we have noted before, this ban talk is due to fears that TikTok could be forced to share massive amounts of data with the Chinese government. I get to repeat myself…that data has more than likely already been shared and continues to be. No matter how secure an app or platform claims to be, anything you post or enter could be compromised. Banning an app that 100 million people use will cause a gigantic backlash, should the courts even allow it. 

An analyst at Hong-Kong based investment firm Haitong International says a price hike is likely on the upcoming iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. According to, the analyst, Jeff Pu, notes that Apple hasn’t raised prices since the iPhone 10 (which was designated with an X.) There was an earlier unverified claim on Chinese social media back in January claiming a price hike is coming. Apple has previously raised prices in countries other than the US due to currency shifts. The analyst said it wasn’t clear that Apple would boost prices on the two lower priced phones, but with inflation still a concern of the financial people, it wouldn’t be a shock. There’s no word on how much Apple would go for, but considering past pricing, I’d guess $100.

Microsoft has just patched an Outlook zero-day vulnerability that has been exploited by Russian hackers tied to their military that has been out there since at least April 2022. Bleeping Computer says the hackers have hit some 15 government, military, energy, and transportation networks in the past year. The hacking group tied to the Russian military intelligence GRU has often been dubbed Fancy Bear. 

In violation of federal law, FCC employees have been holding stock in Comcast, Charter, AT&T, and Verizon. According to, nonprofit watchdog Campaign Legal Center uncovered the violations, and they have demanded the government investigate and prosecute the offenders. “Federal law specifically bans FCC employees from owning ‘any stocks, bonds, or other securities of [any company] significantly regulated by the Commission.”  The staffers holding the forbidden stock included Rosemary Harold, who has been chief of the FCC Enforcement Bureau, and is now deputy chief of the FCC Media Bureau. She held between $3000 and $45,000 in Comcast stock. The report also said former FCC official Lisa Hone, then a deputy bureau chief, owned Charter Communications stock worth between $4,004 and $60,000. Several other staffers, including Chief Information Security Office Andrea Simpson and Chief Technology Officer Eric Burger also held as much as $31,000 and $105,000 in telcom stocks respectively. 

I’m Clark Reid, and you’re ‘Technified’ for now.


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