TikTok must be removed from Apple, Google app stores: FCC Commissioner

One of the Commissioners of the U.S. FCC (Federal Communications Commission) Brendan Carr has urged tech giants Google and Apple to pull TikTok from their app stores over data security concerns.

The popular short video platform is owned by China’s ByteDance and has long faced scrutiny from the U.S. when under the Trump administration. The commissioner has shared a letter via Twitter to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and Apple CEO Tim Cook.

The letter pointed to some reports as well as other developments that showed that TikTok does not comply with the tech giants’ app store policies. This includes transferring U.S. user data to China’s servers, India’s ban on the app, and unlawful access to user data.

Carr claimed that TikTok is essentially a sheep’s clothing that runs on a sophisticated tool to harvest personal and sensitive data. It is worth noting that the commissioner’s letter is based on a BuzzFeed News Report that showed statements made by TikTok employees, claiming that engineers in China were granted access to U.S. user data dated from September 2021 to December 2022.

Following BuzzFeed’s report, TikTok revealed that it was routing all U.S. user traffic to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, essentially moving users’ data from its data centers to cloud servers located within the country.

The commissioner has asked Apple and Google to provide statements by July 8th if the short video platform is not removed from the app stores. The two companies must provide a basis for their conclusion through the statement that TikTok complies with their app store policies.

For those unaware, Carr was nominated for a five-year term with the FCC in 2018 by former U.S. President Donald Trump. In December last year, the Senate confirmed that Jessica Rosenworcel would hold her seat as the commission’s chair for another five-year term.

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