(RoyalPatriot.com )- An FCC commissioner this week issued a plea to big tech companies Google and Apple to remove the popular social media app TikTok from their app stores because he’s concerned that the Chinese company that owns them is harvesting user data.
Brendan Carr, a commissioner of the FCC who former President Donald Trump appointed, said TikTok is posing threats to national security.
This follows information published by BuzzFeed in early June that employees who work in China for TikTok’s parent company are able to access the private data of users from the United States. That set off big concerns from many Republicans in Washington, who urged action on the issue.
Carr sent letters to both Google and Apple recently, and he shared them on Tuesday. In it, he wrote:
“[TikTok’s] pattern of conduct and misrepresentation regarding the unfettered access that persons in Beijing have to sensitive U.S. user data” means that the app is “out of compliance” with the policies of both companies’ 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.”
In the immediate wake of Carr making his letter public, The Hill reached out to TikTok, Google and Apple for comment, but no one responded to their request.
TikTok moved quickly to try to quell fears following the publication of BuzzFeed’s report in early June. The company announced that it had moved all data related to any user who was located in the United States over to a cloud platform run by Oracle.
While that data was being transferred over to the platform run by Oracle, TikTok said there would be backups of it that would be stored on servers run by TikTok that are located in Singapore and Virginia. Once it’s fully transferred over, company representatives said they would be deleting the data from their servers altogether.
Despite this, Carr said TikTok moving all that data on U.S. users to servers run by Oracle doesn’t address the main concerns that he raised in the letter sent to Google and Apple. He explained that his reasoning behind that is TikTok has “long claimed” that they have stored user data on people from the U.S. on servers that were located in America, “and yet those representations provided no protection against data being accessed from Beijing.”
This isn’t a new issue that’s being raised, either. In the last year of his presidency, Trump threatened to block the app from being available in the U.S. unless TikTok’s parent company sell to a trusted American company. There were potential deals on the table with Microsoft, but they fell through.
Ultimately, TikTok was never banned from being available in the U.S., but many of the same concerns still remain.
A group of Republican senators sent a letter to President Joe Biden recently, saying they were concerned about the issues TikTok presents to national security. They said the Biden administration was failing to address any of the concerns.