TikTok cannot catch a break from criticism lately. After news broke out about the data privacy breach of users in the US, it has been in deep waters. The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner, Brendan Carr, has now written to Apple and Google, asking them to ban Tiktok from their platforms as it may leak sensitive user data to Beijing.
Carr stated that around 19 million users had downloaded Tiktok in the US in just the first quarter of 2022, meaning that it stores the data about quite a significant population of the US. “It is clear that TikTok poses an unacceptable security risk due to its extensive data harvesting being combined with Beijing’s apparently unchecked access to that sensitive data”, said Carr. He then asked both Google and Apple to remove TikTok from their app stores for failing to follow regulations. You can view the full letter below:
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
Carr also suggested that TikTok being a mere social media application for sharing memes and content is a facade. He claimed that it is in fact a “sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data.” He continued by mentioning how other countries or organizations banned TikTok like India in 2020 and the US military. In fact, even former US president Donald Trump tried to ban TikTok as well.
While Tiktok has already announced that it is shifting user data to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure with servers hosted in the US and Singapore, Carr argues that this does not pacify his concerns because they do not prevent data from being accessed by Beijing.