Apple And Google Urged To Remove TikTok Over ‘National Security Risk’
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Apple and Google have been urged by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) to remove TikTok from their respective app stores over a ‘national security risk’.
Brendan Carr, the commissioner of the FCC, has told both Tim Cook (Apple CEO) and Sundar Pinchai (Google CEO) 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'.
In a letter dated June 24, 2022, Carr wrote: "But it is also clear that TikTok’s pattern of conduct and misrepresentations regarding the unfettered access that persons in Beijing have sensitive US user data … puts it out of compliance with the policies that both of your companies require every app to adhere to as a condition of remaining available on your app stores.
"Therefore, I am requesting that you apply the plain text of your app store policies to TikTok and remove it from your app stores for failure to abide by those terms."
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
The letter continues to read: "Numerous provisions of the Apple App Store and Google Play Store policies are relevant to TikTok’s pattern of surreptitious data practices—a pattern that runs contrary to its repeated representations.
"For instance, Section 5.1.2(i) of the Apple App Store Review Guidelines states that an app developer ‘must provide access to information about how and where the data [of an individual will be used’ and ‘[d]ata collected from apps may only be shared with third parties to improve the app or serve advertising."
However, Michael Beckerman, VP, Head of Public Policy, Americas at TikTok, has refuted these claims.
Speaking to CNN, Beckerman said: "He’s pointing out a number of areas that are simply false in terms of information that we’re collecting, and we’re happy to set the record straight."
“He’s mentioning we’re collecting browser history, like we’re tracking you across the internet. That’s simply false.
"It is something that a number of social media apps do without checking your browser history across other apps. That is not what TikTok does.”
Beckerman added: “It’s not logging what you’re typing. It’s an anti-fraud measure that checks the rhythm of the way people are typing to ensure it’s not a bot or some other malicious activity.”
He concluded: “We have never shared information with the Chinese government nor would we […]
"We have US-based security teams that manage access, manage the app, and, as actual national security agencies like the CIA during the Trump administration pointed out, the data that’s available on TikTok—because it’s an entertainment app—is not of a national security importance.”
UNILAD has contacted Apple, Google and TikTok for comment.
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