The U.S. Federal Communications commissioner has asked Apple and Google to remove the TikTok app from respective stores over concerns that users’ data is being accessed in China, The Washington Post reports.
The commissioner, Brendan Carr, shared his letter to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook and Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai. Concerns were raised about TikTok’s Chinese ownership, adding that “it harvests swaths of sensitive data that new reports show is being accessed in Beijing.”
TikTok is a social media app that showcases short videos that can be accessed on some of the best Android phones.
TikTok is not just another video app.That’s the sheep’s clothing.It harvests swaths of sensitive data that new reports show are being accessed in Beijing.I’ve called on @Apple & @Google to remove TikTok from their app stores for its pattern of surreptitious data practices. pic.twitter.com/Le01fBpNjnJune 28, 2022
BuzzFeed News recently revealed in a report that Bejing-based employees of TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, were able to access private information on U.S. users on multiple occasions.
“It’s clear that TikTok poses an unacceptable national security risk due to its extensive data being combined with Bejing’s apparently unchecked access to that data,” Carr wrote. “But it is clear that TikTok’s pattern of conduct and misrepresentations regarding the unfettered access that persons in Beijing have to sensitive U.S. user data… puts it out of compliance with policies that both of your companies require every app to adhere to as a condition of remaining available on your app stores.”
Divinemercy has reached out to Apple, Google, and TikTok for comment but did not get one in time for publication.
The Washington Post reported TikTok declined to comment but directed the publication to previous comments where the company stated that it would “gladly engage with lawmakers to set the record straight” regarding the BuzzFeed report.
“Recent reporting by BuzzFeed shows that TikTok is doing exactly what it said it would: addressing concerns around access to U.S. user data by employees outside the U.S. We’ve been clear and vocal about our work in this area as we seek to address both location and access to data. We’re pleased that we now route 100% of U.S. user traffic to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, and we are continuing to work on additional safeguards on U.S. data for improved peace of mind for our community.”
This isn’t the first time the company has been under a national security threat; the last time was in 2019, when U.S. officials approached ByteDance with similar concerns.