Is it game-over for TikTok? FCC wants Apple, Google to remove the app

Is it game-over for TikTok? US FCC commissioner wants Apple and Google to remove the app

/ 09:14 AM June 30, 2022

Pointing out security risks, US Federal Communications Commission regulator Brendan Carr asked two tech giants to remove TikTok from their app stores. He asked Google and Apple to ban TikTok due to China-related privacy and security issues. 

Brendan Carr wrote a letter to Google and Apple. He said, “It is clear that TikTok poses an unacceptable national security risk. Due to its extensive data harvesting combined with Beijing’s unchecked access to that sensitive data.”


Carr also referred to a Buzzfeed News report claiming that ByteDance employees in China have repeatedly breached non-public US user data in the letter. Buzzfeed also has recordings of TikTok’s meetings. Wherein nine employees made different statements confirming that engineers in China had access to US user data between September 2021 and January 2022.

A Chinese company ByteDance owns the immensely popular video platform. The company was already under US surveillance during President Donald Trump’s reign. 

FCC Commissioner Carr wrote to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and Apple CEO Tim Cook. He also shared the letter on Twitter. The letter cited the developments and other reports of TikTok’s non-compliance with Apple and Google’s App Store regulations.

Carr mentioned in the letter, “TikTok is not what it appears 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.”


TikTok, Google, and Apple haven’t replied to CNBC for any comments.

Carr’s letter was dated June 24. He said that if Google and Apple didn’t remove the app from their app stores, the two tech giants should be able to provide statements of explanation by July 8.

Privacy breach

He said that the statements should cite “the basis for your companies’ conclusion that the surreptitious access of private and sensitive US user data by persons in Beijing, coupled with TikTok’s pattern of misleading representations and conduct, does not afoul of any of your app store policies.”

In 2018, Trump nominated Carr for a five-year term at the FCC. Moreover, the US Senate confirmed that the commission’s chair Jessica Rosenworcel would stay in her position for another five years.

In a CNBC report, a TikTok 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 US-based security team oversees the access approval process. TikTok has consistently maintained that our engineers in locations outside the US, including China, can be granted access to US user data on an as-needed basis under those strict controls.”

Furthermore, TikTok announced it would be routing all US traffic to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. TikTok will also be moving US users’ private data from its data centers in Singapore and the US to Oracle cloud servers. 

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TAGS: Federal Trade Commission FCC, interesting topics, Tiktok, TikTok ban
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