The United States asks Apple and Google to ban TikTok for being a “national security risk”

TikTok, one of the most popular social platforms, could have its days numbered in the United States after a BuzzFeed News report came to light warning that the data of the North American users of the platform they are not quite sure as China was able to access them, something that the social network denies.

After this news, the delegate of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Brendan Carr, wrote to Apple and Google to ask companies to remove TikTok from your stores of applications for “its pattern of surreptitious data practices”.

According to the information handled by Carr, the video application she is not as innocent as she appears: It’s not just an app for sharing funny videos or memes. Since it works as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests personal and sensitive data.

“As you know, TikTok is an app that is available to millions of Americans through their app stores and collects a lot of sensitive data about those US users. TikTok is owned by ByteDance, based in Beijing, an organization that is beholden to the communists. Part of China and required by Chinese law to meet the surveillance demands of the People’s Republic of China,” Carr said in a letter to Sundar Pichai y Tim Cook.

After BuzzFeed News published its report, by way of disclaimer, TikTok announced that transfer all user data from the US to Oracle servers located in the country.

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He specified that the company still uses its own servers based in the US and Singapore for backup. But in the future, he hopes to “remove US users’ private data from our own data centers and move entirely to Oracle’s cloud servers located in the US.”

In Carr’s letter, dated June 24, he claims that Apple and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, if they don’t ban the chinese platform of their digital stores will have to give explanations in two communications before next July 8.

According to Carr, the technology companies will have to explain why they believe that “the surreptitious access to private and sensitive data of US users by people located in Beijing, along with TikTok’s pattern of misleading representations and conduct, does not violate any of the policies of your app store.

For the moment, and while waiting for the companies to rule on this issue, it does not seem that TikTok, which only in the United States has more than 136 million userswill disappear from the digital stores of Apple and Google.

What the leaked TikTok audios say

They accuse TikTok of spying on user conversations. AFP Photo

That ByteDance, the company that has developed TikTok, has crossed the line seems to be clear. The Buzzfeed News report detailed the numerous leaked audios of internal meetings alleging that Beijing-based ByteDance has greater access to and control of US user data than would have been claimed.

According to this investigative work, a TikTok director referred to an anonymous ByteDance engineer in China as a “master administrator” who has access to absolutely all data.

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In other meetings, it would have been said, from the TikTok trust and security department, that in China they see everything that happens on the platform.

These practices are not an isolated event. It is not the first time that TikTok has been involved in this type of controversy in the United States – Donald Trump already tried to ban it in 2020 – and, according to Carr, the leaked audio confirms that the platform has “a pattern of conduct and misrepresentations in relation to with the unrestricted access people in Beijing have to the sensitive data of US users.”

Joe Biden, president of the United States, proposed in early 2022 a battery of new rules that would give the US government greater control over applications that could pose a risk to national security. Among them would be TikTok.




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