FCC Exec Asks Apple, Google To Junk TikTok From Their App Stores
According to Brian Fung of CNN Business, a member of the Federal Communications Commission is reviving requests for Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores, citing national security concerns over TikTok's Chinese-based parent firm, ByteDance.
Photo Insert: It is unclear whether Carr's plea will be successful as the FCC has no authority over internet-based services such as app stores.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr described ByteDance as "beholden" to the Chinese government and "required by law to comply with (Chinese government) surveillance demands" in a letter to the CEOs of Apple and Google on June 24.
Carr said TikTok is "out of compliance with the policies that both of your companies require every app to adhere to", citing a recent BuzzFeed News revelation that ByteDance's Chinese personnel had accessed US TikTok users' data on many occasions.
Apple and Google did not respond immediately to requests for comment. TikTok said in a statement that the BuzzFeed report was "misleading," adding that "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 US user data on an as-needed basis under those strict controls."
Buzzfeed News said in a statement that it "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."
For years, US officials have expressed worry that Chinese government access to data or conversations of US customers could jeopardize national security.
However, it is unclear whether Carr's plea will be successful. The FCC has no authority over internet-based services such as app stores, and previous efforts by the US government to prohibit TikTok from US app stores have failed due to legal challenges.
Decisions on how and whether the FCC should intervene would require the approval of Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, who heads the independent federal agency.