why Apple and Google were called upon to ban TikTok from their smartphones

Brendan Carr, commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission, called on both companies to remove the Chinese social network from their app stores. This follows a report revealing that US user data is accessible in China.

A request for data security in the United States. On June 24, Commissioner Brendan Carr sent a letter to Apple and Google calling on both companies to remove TikTok from their app stores, namely the App Store and Play Store. The reason: a recent article by BuzzFeed revealed that employees of ByteDance – the parent company – based in China repeatedly accessed US users’ private information. “Everything is seen in China”said an enforcement official in one of the internal audio recordings reviewed by the outlet.

“TikTok is not just another video app. It’s the wolf in sheep’s clothing. It harvests quantities of sensitive data which, according to new reports, is accessible in Beijing.said the member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the agency in charge of telecoms regulation, in a tweet including the letter.

A safety issue mentioned several times

Brendan Carr considers that TikTok works as a sophisticated surveillance tool, collecting private information such as search histories, keystrokes, biometric identifiers or location data. According to him, Apple and Google must remove the social network from their stores because it does not comply with the policies required for each application, allowing officials in China to access this personal data. In the event that the two tech giants refuse to remove TikTok from their application stores, they have until July 8 to explain the reasons.

The FCC Commissioner further indicates that the article of BuzzFeed is further proof that “TikTok poses a serious security threat” the United States. This is indeed not the first time that the social network has been pinned down in relation to its practices in terms of data. For example, researchers discovered in March 2020 that TikTok, through its application in the App Store, was accessing users’ most sensitive data such as passwords, cryptocurrency wallet addresses and personal messages. The platform also agreed to pay $92 million in 2021 to settle lawsuits alleging it was collecting its users’ personal data and sharing it with third parties in China.

Moreover, if a few hours before the publication of the article by BuzzFeed, TikTok has announced that it will now store all US user data on Oracle Group servers located in the United States, this does not address concerns about its accessibility in China. The social network had indeed already claimed that this information was hosted in the country, but that did not prevent officials from accessing it from Beijing.

European user data is not mentioned in the article, but it is also hosted in the United States, as well as in Singapore. This should also change from the beginning of next year with a data center in Ireland.

Leave a Comment