The United States Communications regulator, The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has through its commissioner, Brendan Carr had on Tuesday written to tech giants, Apple and Google, asking them to ban video sharing app, TikTok from their app stores as a result of its devious data practices.
This is coming on the heels of a revelation by BuzzFeed News’ last week indicating how employees of TikTok in China had access to the data of users residing in the US up until January.
Carr in a letter to Sundar Pichai and Tim Cook wrote:
“As you know, TikTok is an app that is available to millions of Americans through your app stores, and it collects vast troves of sensitive data about those US users. TikTok is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance — an organization that is beholden to the Communist Party of China and required by the Chinese law to comply with PRC’s surveillance demands,”
“It is clear that TikTok poses an unacceptable national security risk due to its extensive data harvesting being combined with Beijing’s apparently unchecked access to that sensitive data,” Carr added.
While TikTok is fashioned as a a simple video app, there are increasing suggestions it is more than that, as it is alleged in certain quarters that the ByteDance-owned platform is a meticulously designed piece of tech that is made to spread and proliferate while gathering data about its users.
It was also alleged that large chunks of this data were gathered and made accessible to the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing, a grievous and strong argument by Americans that is enough to ban TikTok, TikTok had further been put into the spotlight with the recent political stances of China regarding Russia and its offensive against Ukraine.
In its defense, TikTok in response to BuzzFeed News article said it would be transferring all US customers’ data to local Oracle servers, while stating that the business will continue to use its own backup US and Singaporean servers. TikTok is also intending to expunge private data of US customers from its data centres, while it fully pivot to Oracle cloud servers based in the US in the future.
The company further revealed that to keep up with this approach, it would also be implementing operational adjustments, including the new department created with leadership headquartered in the US to manage US user data for TikTok.