US FCC Commissioner has requested that Apple and Google remove TikTok from appstores

US FCC Commissioner has requested that Apple and Google remove TikTok from appstores

Apple and Google should remove TikTok from their app stores because of its "pattern of surreptitious data practices," according to one FCC commissioner.

Republican FCC member Brendan Carr wrote to Apple and Google's CEOs, "It is clear that TikTok poses an unacceptable national security risk due to its extensive data harvesting and Beijing's apparently unchecked access" to sensitive data.

In September 2021, TikTok revealed that one billion people use its app every month, making it the sixth-largest social media platform after Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, and WeChat.

"Sheep's clothing" features are meant to hide the fact that the short-form video service is a "sophisticated surveillance tool" designed to collect personal information about users, according to Carr.

To name just a few, the letter mentions a slew of problems TikTok has had to deal with over the years, including a class-action lawsuit settled for $92 million over allegations that the app illegally collected biometric and personal data from US users without their knowledge or consent.

BuzzFeed's revelation that employees in China repeatedly accessed U.S. user data between September 2021 and January 2022, despite TikTok's assurances to the contrary, has re-ignited the debate over whether the Chinese government has access to user data.

According to a member of TikTok's Trust and Safety department, "everything is seen in China," while another director referred to a Beijing-based engineer as "Master Admin" who "has access to everything" during a September 2021 meeting, both of which were recorded.

TikTok's Chinese parent company, according to CNBC's former employees, has access to TikTok's U.S. user data, and it's involved in product development and decision making.

A TikTok spokesperson told the business news outlet that outside the United States, including in China, engineers can be granted "as-needed" access to U.S. user data under strict access controls.

However, the company says it has "changed the default location of U.S. user data storage" and now routes all of its users' data through Oracle-controlled infrastructure. The car however noted that these efforts do not address the core issues of data access. Carr.

However, despite its claims that its servers are located in the United States, TikTok's representations were not sufficient to prevent the data from being accessed from Beijing." Says Carr. Even so, the statement from the company that "100% of US user traffic is being routed to Oracle" does not indicate where that data can be accessed from."

In light of the fact that several US military branches have already banned TikTok use on government-issued devices due to security concerns, it's important to note. A similar move was made by the Indian government in June 2020.


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