FCC member asks Apple, Google to remove TikTok from their app stores
Brendan Carr of the Federal Communications Commission, the agency responsible for regulating radio and television, wrote a letter to Apple and Google asking they removed Chinese-owned TikTok from their respective app stores, citing national security and privacy concerns
July 1, 2022 8:41am
Updated: July 1, 2022 1:30pm
A member of the Federal Communications Commission, the agency responsible for regulating radio and television, wrote a letter to Apple and Google asking they removed Chinese-owned TikTok from their respective app stores, citing national security and privacy concerns.
“It is clear that TikTok poses an unacceptable national security risk due to its extensive data harvesting being combined with Beijing’s apparently unchecked access to that sensitive data,” Federal Communications Commission member Brendan Carr wrote in a letter to Apple and Google parent Alphabet.
Carr shared the full letter in a tweet Monday, saying Tiktok harvests “swaths of sensitive data” on Americans “that new reports show are being accessed in Beijing.”
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
Carr cites the recent Buzzfeed report that found that China-based employees of TikTok parent ByteDance have repeatedly access non-public data about U.S. users up until at least January 2022, based on leaked audio of internal meetings.
“Everything is seen in China,” said a member TikTok’s Trust and Safety department in a September 2021 meeting, according to one recording.
TikTok was a high-profile target of former President Donald Trump’s campaign against China. His executive orders banning the app were ultimately blocked by federal court rulings and undone by the Biden administration.
The White House has since been criticized for moving too slowly to revise federal rules to address the potential security risks of TikTok and other foreign-owned apps, reports The Wall Street Journal.
ByteDance has repeatedly denied that it shares data with the Chinese government, including during sworn testimony before the Senate in October.
In response to Carr’s letter, the company told The Wall Street Journal that U.S. user traffic is now routed through U.S.-based Oracle and working on additional safeguards “for improved peace of mind for our community.”
The Wall Street Journal also noted that as one of five members of the FCC, Carr has no power to compel the two companies to action.
Apple and Google have not taken any action on the letter's requests.