Brendan Carr, FCC Commissioner, wants Apple and Google to remove TikTok apps from the playstore and app store. He claims the popular social media app is a severe national security threat.
The letter posted by Carr says, “TikTok may not be what it seems on the surface. It’s not just an app to share funny videos and memes. “That’s the sheep’s clothing.” This letter was sent to the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, and the CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai.
Carr, a Republican Commissioner, was nominated by Trump during his administration. He stated in the letter, “TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance instrument that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data.” He asked tech companies to stop making the app available for download.
The letter details how TikTok’s practices may not have complied with Apple’s or Google’s app store policies. Carr also refers to a Buzzfeed News report that stated earlier that TikTok’s US data had been accessed by Chinese employees.
TikTok declined to comment on Carr’s letters but stated that it addresses concerns about access to US user data.
TikTok spokesperson said in an email that they use access controls such as encryption and security monitoring to protect user data. The access approval process is managed by the US-based security team. “TikTok has always maintained that engineers outside the US, such as China, can access US user information on an as-needed basis. This is consistent with its strict controls.”
TikTok spokesperson further stated that TikTok will continue “to work on additional safeguards for US data for improved security for our community.”
These allegations are not new to TikTok’s Beijing-based parent company ByteDance. Legislators and regulators have been raising concerns for years about the platform’s use of personal data and how it protects it. As a result, it is already blocked from many US government-issued devices.
TikTok announced earlier this month that it would be moving US user data from its servers to Oracle storage locations in the US. However, Carr stated that the move did not address the concerns raised by his letter.
Carr requested that Apple and Google respond by July 8, explaining why TikTok is still available in their app stores. Unfortunately, Apple and Google have not yet responded to this issue.
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