TikTok banned! FCC commissioner request Apple and Google to remove the app
An FCC commissioner has reissued a demand for Apple and Google to ban TikTok from their app stores, citing national security concerns related to ByteDance, TikTok’s parent firm in China.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr wrote to Apple and Google’s CEOs on June 24 describing ByteDance as “beholden” to the Chinese government and “required by law to comply with [Chinese government] surveillance demands.” Carr said the claims proved TikTok was “out of compliance with the policies that both of your companies require every app to adhere to.” referring to a recent BuzzFeed News revelation that ByteDance’s Chinese personnel had accessed US TikTok users’ data on many occasions.
When asked for response, Apple and Google were silent at first. TikTok issued a statement calling the BuzzFeed article “misleading.”
TikTok claims, “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.”
According to a statement released by Buzzfeed News, the outlet “stands categorically behind our reporting that US user data was accessed by China-based TikTok employees far more frequently than previously known, and we’re glad that TikTok even confirmed this in its own statement.”
Authorities in the United States have voiced worry for a long time that the Chinese government may be able to access the data or conversations of American citizens, which might compromise national security. However, it is unclear if Carr’s appeal will have any effect.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) does not have jurisdiction over app stores or other internet-based services, and previous attempts by the US government to remove TikTok from US app shops have been unsuccessful in court. FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel’s approval would be needed for any decisions about the agency’s next course of action.
TikTok stated that it had moved all user data from its proprietary servers in the United States to Oracle cloud servers in the United States the same day as the BuzzFeed report and that it planned to delete all backups of user data from its proprietary servers in the United States in the near future.
According to Carr’s letter, the news did not reassure him. TikTok’s “TikTok has long claimed that its U.S. user data has been stored on servers in the U.S. and yet those representations provided no protection against the data being accessed from Beijing,” are not enough to prevent Beijing from accessing that data, he added. Although TikTok claims that “Indeed, TikTok’s statement that ‘100 percent of US user traffic is being routed to Oracle’ says nothing about where that data can be accessed from.” the company provides no details regarding how to gain access to this information.