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Ammo-maker says TikTok's datacenter site could deprive it of electricity

'Our future growth is challenged by the storage of cat videos'

Here's a conspiracy theory for you to consider: the war in Ukraine has shown that the West can't produce ammunition fast enough to sustain even that limited conflict. China noticed, and therefore had TikTok plan three energy-hungry datacenters close to an ammunition factory, threatening its electricity supply.

You'd be forgiven for thinking that theory came from the farthest, darkest, reaches of the internet. But no. Its source is the CEO of an actual ammunition manufacturer, Norway's Nammo, in an interview with the famously conservative Financial Times (FT).

Nammo – short for Nordic Ammunition Company – is a Norway-based manufacturer of ammunition with a sideline in rocket engines.

The world has realized it needs more ammo, so Nammo wants to expand.

But CEO Morten Brandtzæg told the FT "We are concerned because we see our future growth is challenged by the storage of cat videos."

The FT asked the CEO if he thinks TikTok's decision to build datacenters near Nammo was a coincidence.

"I will not rule out that it's not by pure coincidence that this activity is close to a defence company. I can't rule it out."

The story quotes Norwegian authorities as saying they'll make sure Nammo gets the juice it needs so that its customers can keep blowing things up.

Whether TikTok is welcome to keep storing cat videos – or any other data – remains in doubt. The made-in-China vid-sharing app has been banned from government-owned devices around the world, and US Congress intends to enact a law that could either ban it outright or force the company to divest its stateside operations.

The app has also attracted criticism from the European Union, leading to a plan called Project Clover that aims to create "a secure enclave for European TikTok user data" that will include "security gateways that will determine employee access to European TikTok user data and data transfers outside of Europe."

TikTok's owner, ByteDance, promised "The above process will be overseen and checked by a third-party European security company who will audit our data controls and protections, monitor data flows, provide independent verification and report any incidents."

If approved, Project Clover could spell more trouble for Nammo and other firms near TikTok datacenters.

Pray, dear reader, that Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin have not started to map the locations of breweries, or facilities wherein fine meats are smoked. ®

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