Looks like a conflict is brewing among FCC TikTok Apple Google. An FCC official claimed that he has requested Apple and Google to remove TikTok from app stores due to worries about China’s data security.
The Chinese corporation ByteDance, which came under suspicion in the United States under President Donald Trump, is the owner of the hugely popular short video app. One of the FCC commissioners, Brendan Carr, posted a letter to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and Apple CEO Tim Cook on Twitter. TikTok was cited in the letter as being in violation of the two businesses’ app store regulations as a result of reports and other developments.
Why are FCC TikTok Apple Google in conflict?
“TikTok is not what it appears to be on the surface. It is not just an app for sharing funny videos or meme. That’s the sheep’s clothing,” Carr said in the letter. “At its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data.”
In Carr’s letter, dated June 24 and printed on FCC letterhead, he demanded statements from Apple and Alphabet by July 8 if they did not remove TikTok from their app stores. In addition to TikTok’s history of deceptive representations and conduct, the statements should explain “the basis for your company’s conclusion that the covert access of private and sensitive U.S. user data by persons located in Beijing does not run afoul of any of your app store policies,” he said.
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.
— Brendan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) June 28, 2022
Carr received Trump’s nomination for a five-year term on the FCC in 2018. The commission’s chair, Jessica Rosenworcel, was officially confirmed by the Senate to serve a second five-year term in December. Carr’s letter cited a BuzzFeed News report from earlier in the month that said recordings of TikTok employee statements indicated engineers in China had access to U.S. data between September 2021 and January 2022.
In a statement to CNBC, a spokesperson said, “Like many global companies, TikTok has engineering teams around the world. We employ access controls like encryption and security monitoring to secure user data, and the access approval process is overseen by our US-based security team. TikTok has consistently maintained that our engineers in locations outside of the US, including China, can be granted access to U.S. user data on an as-needed basis under those strict controls.”
In addition to shifting users’ private data from its own data centers in the US and Singapore to Oracle cloud servers in the US, TikTok announced on June 17 that it will route all US user traffic to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.
ByteDance, the main firm of TikTok, isn’t really unfamiliar to these accusations. Concerns regarding the platform’s gathering and protection of individual user data have been voiced by legislators and authorities for years. Many US government-issued devices already forbid the app, and the Trump administration ordered ByteDance to sell TikTok in 2020. However, the Biden administration didn’t make the selloff mandatory.
In an effort to allay worries, TikTok said earlier this month that it would be relocating its servers storing US customer data to Oracle storage facilities in the US. Carr argued that the action didn’t, however, address the issues he mentioned in his letter.
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