A top FCC official wants Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores. FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr claimed the popular video app is secretly harvesting “sensitive data” that is “being accessed in Beijing”.
On Twitter, Carr shared the letter he sent to both the CEO of Apple Tim Cook and the CEO of Alphabet Sundar Pichai.
TikTok is not just another video app.— Brendan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) June 28, 2022
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/Le01fBpNjn
In the letter, Carr states, “TikTok is not what it appears to be on the surface. It is not just an app for sharing funny videos or memes. That’s the sheep’s clothing…At its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data.”
Carr also states that if the companies do not remove TikTok from their app stores, they would need to provide statements by July 8th.
BuzzFeed News Report
The letter references a report from BuzzFeed News that showed evidence to suggest that engineers in China had access to U.S. data. This evidence came from leaked audio from TikTok meetings between employees. The report also provided a statement from a TikTok spokesperson. They said, “We know we’re among the most scrutinized platforms from a security standpoint, and we aim to remove any doubt about the security of US user data. That’s why we hire experts in their fields, continually work to validate our security standards, and bring in reputable, independent third parties to test our defenses.”
CNBC says the same day BuzzFeed’s report came out on June 17th, TikTok announced that it would now route all U.S. user traffic to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure in the U.S.
TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance and has faced heavy scrutiny from U.S. regulators.
Currently, none of the three tech giants have provided comments.
How concerned are you about protecting your data online? What would be the reaction if TikTok was banned in the U.S.?