The Federal Communications Commission of the United States of America sent a notice to Apple and Google in recent days asking them to remove the TikTok app from their stores due to its data management practices that are not exactly transparent.
FCC commissioner Brendan Carr sent the request to the two Silicon Valley giants after it emerged, thanks to a BuzzFeed News investigation, that TikTok staff in China had the ability to access US user data despite the company statements indicated otherwise.
“As you know, TikTok is an app available to millions of Americans via your app stores and collects vast amounts of sensitive data about US users. TikTok is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, a company linked to the Chinese Communist Party and which responds to Chinese law by complying with government surveillance demands, “wrote Carr in a letter addressed to Sundar Pichai and Tim Cook, the two CEOs of Google and Apple.
“It is clear that TikTok poses an unacceptable risk to national security due to the vast amount of data it collects coupled with Beijing’s seemingly uncontrolled access to that sensitive data,” the FCC commissioner specified, according to TechCrunch.
It is not new that concerns are raised about the confidentiality of information collected by TikTok, which in the past has repeatedly replied that US user data is stored in the US and not in China. However, according to BuzzFeed News, TikTok staff in China had access to US user data as late as January of this year.
BuzzFeed’s claim is in contrast to a sworn testimony a TikTok executive gave in a US Senate hearing in October last year, stating then that it is “a renowned security team. based in the United States “to decide who can gain access to US user data.
TikTok’s response to BuzzFeed’s response was not long in coming: the company said it currently uses servers located in the US and Singapore for backup, but plans to delete US users’ private data from datacenters in the future ( in China) and fully switch to Oracle’s cloud servers located in the US. The company also stated that it is working to make operational changes and to set up a US-based department that can exclusively manage US user data.