A commissioner at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, Brendan Carr, has called on Big Tech companies Apple and Google to pull TikTok from their app stores.
Carr, a Trump-appointee, said in his letter that TikTok’s owner, the China-based ByteDance, cannot be trusted to secure the information its American users provide it.
Even more recently, Buzzfeed reported that the Chinese government gained access to the private information of Tiktok’s American users, despite the company’s claims that U.S. user info is stored on American servers locked away from Chinese access.
In Carr’s open letter, the FCC commissioner suggested that TikTok be removed from their app stores, or else send him a letter explaining why they refuse to do so by July 8.
“TikTok is not just another video app. That’s the sheep’s clothing,” wrote Carr on Twitter. “It harvests swaths of sensitive data that new reports show are being accessed in Beijing.”
“I’ve called on [Apple and Google] to remove TikTok from their app stores for its pattern of surreptitious data practices,” he said.
“TikTok doesn’t just see its users dance videos,” he continued. “It collects search and browsing histories, keystroke patterns, biometric identifiers, draft messages and metadata, plus it has collected the text, images, and videos that are stored on a device's clipboard.”
“Tiktok’s pattern of misrepresentations coupled with its ownership by an entity beholden to the CCP has resulted in U.S. military branches and national security agencies banning it from government devices,” said Carr. “Bipartisan leaders in both the Senate and House have flagged concerns.”
“Numerous provisions of Apple’s & Google’s policies are relevant to TikTok's pattern of surreptitious data harvesting—a pattern that runs contrary to its public representations,” added the commissioner. “And there’s plenty of precedent for holding TikTok accountable by booting it from these app stores.”
“The CCP has a track record longer than a CVS receipt of conducting business & industrial espionage as well as other actions contrary to U.S. national security, which is what makes it so troubling that personnel in Beijing are accessing this sensitive and personnel data,” he said.