US FCC head asks Apple, Google to remove TikTok from app stores

Haripriya Sureban | Updated on: Jun 29, 2022
Brendan Carr asks Apple and Google to remove TikTok

Brendan Carr asks Apple and Google to remove TikTok

Tiktok collects vast troves of sensitive data, says Brendan Carr


Brendan Carr, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) head has requested Apple and Google to remove the Chinese short-video making platform, TikTok, from their respective app stores for “its pattern of surreptitious data practices”.

In the request letter addressed to Tim Cook, CEO, Apple Inc and Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google LLC, Carr said that TikTok, the app available to Americans through the app stores, ‘collects vast troves of sensitive data’ about the US users. 

Carr said that TikTok is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, an organisation beholden to the Communist Party of China and required by the Chinese law to comply with PRC’s surveillance demands. He mentioned the BuzzFeed News report that revealed that ByteDance’s employees have repeatedly accessed data about US TikTok users. This is despite TikTok saying that it has moved US users’ data to Oracle servers within the country.

“It is clear 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,” his letter read. 

Numerous provisions of Apple’s and Google’s policies are relevant to TikTok’s pattern of surreptitious data harvesting - a pattern that runs contrary to public representations. “There are plenty of precedents for holding TikTok accountable by booting it from these app stores,” he wrote.  

India banned TikTok in 2020 due to national security concerns. Both Donald Trump and his successor Joe Biden have questioned the relationship between TikTok and China as well as its impact on the data of US users.

Published on June 29, 2022
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