Brendan Carr, Republican commissioner of the Federal Communication Commission, has asked Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores because it is a national security risk.
TikTok: FCC commissioner wants to remove it from the app stores of Apple and Google
A national security risk: that’s how Brendan Carr, Republican commissioner of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) describes TikTok. In a tweet of his own, Carr reports that he has asked Apple and Google to remove the social network from their app stores.
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
“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. I’ve called on Apple & Google to remove TikTok from their app stores for its pattern of surreptitious data practices”.
Carr’s letter is addressed directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
Not only that, the letter apparently cites the June report, in which the commissioner wrote that TikTok collects:
“Search and browsing histories, keystroke patterns, biometric identifiers, draft messages and metadata, plus it has collected the text, images, and videos that are stored on a device’s clipboard”.
TikTok and data management
Carr’s allegation reportedly references BuzzFeed reports that had revealed leaked audio of a 2021 meeting in September in which a TikTok employee said an unnamed ByteDance engineer in China had “access to everything”.
ByteDance is TikTok’s parent company based in China, and a few hours before the report was published, TikTok had announced that it had migrated US user data to domestic servers run by Oracle.
Essentially, Chinese employees may have had access to US user data from at least September 2021 to January 2022.
From video-sharing to gaming for Vietnam users
Last month, TikTok announced plans to conduct dedicated gaming testing for users in Vietnam, with the goal of expanding into Southeast Asia.
The choice of Vietnam comes precisely because the social network boasts more than 1 billion monthly active users, corresponding to 70% of the population aged under 35.
Testing will start in the third quarter of 2022.