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June 30, 2022

TikToc To Be BANNED In United States By FCC After July 8th Deadline! Massive Data Breech!

TheQuartering [6/29/2022]

According to Variety:

TikTok, the massively popular short-form video app, is in the crosshairs of American policymakers again over its ownership by Chinese internet giant ByteDance.

Brendan Carr, a Republican commissioner of the FCC, posted a letter to Apple and Google on Twitter, urging the tech giants to remove TikTok from their respective app stores — calling it “an unacceptable national security risk.”

“TikTok is not just another video app. That’s the sheep’s clothing,” Carr, who was appointed to the FCC in 2017 by Donald Trump, said in the tweet Tuesday accompanying the letter. “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.”

Carr’s comments amount to little more than saber-rattling, given that the FCC does not have the authority to regulate apps. His call to have TikTok banned in the U.S. came after a June 17 BuzzFeed News report that TikTok staffers in China have “repeatedly” accessed U.S.-based users’ data.

“TikTok’s pattern of conduct and misrepresentations regarding the unfettered access that persons in Beijing have to sensitive U.S. user data” violate Apple and Google’s policies, Carr claimed in the letter. “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.”

Apple and Google haven’t responded to Carr’s call to remove TikTok from their app stores.

In a statement, a TikTok spokesperson told Variety, “We will gladly engage with lawmakers to set the record straight regarding BuzzFeed’s misleading reporting. Like many global companies, TikTok has engineering teams around the world. We employ access controls like encryption and security monitoring to secure user data, and the access approval process is overseen by our U.S.-based security team. TikTok has consistently maintained that our engineers in locations outside of the U.S., including China, can be granted access to U.S. user data on an as-needed basis under those strict controls.”

Asked to explain how the BuzzFeed News report was “misleading,” the TikTok rep did not respond.

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