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FCC Commissioner Asks Apple and Google To Ban TikTok

Posted June 29, 2022 | App Store | Apple | Google | Google Play | Social | TikTok | Windows

Brendan Carr, one of the leaders of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asked Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their respective app stores. In a letter to the Apple and Google CEOs shared on Twitter (via CNBC), Carr pointed out the “vast troves of sensitive data” TikTok collects from US users.

TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based company that is “required by Chinese law to comply with the PRC’s surveillance demands,” Carr claims. The FCC Commissioner also cited a recent report from Buzzfeed, which revealed that ByteDance officials have accessed data from Americans despite the company claiming that data from US TikTok users was being stored in the US.

“At its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal data and sensitive data,” Carr wrote. “Last week’s new report only adds to an overwhelming body of evidence that TikTok presents a serious national security threat.”

Following the report from Buzzfeed, TikTok announced on June 17 that 100% of user data was now being routed to Oracle infrastructure. “We still use our US and Singapore data centers for backup, but as we continue our work we expect to delete US users’ private data from our own data centers and fully pivot to Oracle cloud servers located in the US,” the company said last week.

That’s apparently not enough for the FCC Commissioner, who wrote that TikTok’s statement about US user data “says nothing about where that data can be accessed from.” That’s why Carr is urging Apple and Google to take action, emphasizing the fact that both companies “have long claimed to operate their app stores in a manner that protects consumer privacy and safeguards their data.”

The FCC Commissioner ended his letter by asking Apple and Google to provide official statements by July 8 in case the two companies refuse his request to pull TikTok from their respective App Stores.

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