A member of the Federal Communications Commission renews calls on Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores, citing national security concerns surrounding TikTok̵[ads1]7;s Chinese-based parent company, ByteDance.
In a letter dated June 24 to the CEOs of Apple (AAPL) (AAPL) and Google (GOOGL) (GOOGL), FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr described ByteDance as “retained” by the Chinese government and “required by law to comply with [Chinese government] referring to surveillance requirements. “Referring to a recent BuzzFeed News report that ByteDance’s Chinese employees had gained access to US TikTok users’ data on several occasions, Carr said the allegations showed how TikTok is” out of line with the guidelines of both your companies. requires each app to follow. ”
Apple and Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement, TikTok called the BuzzFeed report “misleading.”
“Like many global companies, TikTok has engineering teams around the world,” said TikTok. “We use access controls such as encryption and security monitoring to secure user data, and the access authentication process is monitored by our US-based security team. TikTok has consistently claimed that our engineers in locations outside the US, including China, can access US user data as needed during these rigorous controls. . »
In a statement, Buzzfeed News said that it “is categorically behind our reporting that US user data was accessed by China-based TikTok employees far more often than previously known, and we are pleased that TikTok even confirmed this in its own statement. ”
For years, US officials have expressed concern that the Chinese government’s access to US users’ data or communications could jeopardize national security. But whether Carr’s prayer will work is uncertain.
The FCC does not play a role in regulating Internet-based services such as app stores, and previous attempts by the US government to ban TikTok from US app stores have failed under legal challenges. Decisions on how and whether the FCC should act would require procurement from board chair Jessica Rosenworcel, who heads the independent federal agency.
On the same day as the BuzzFeed report, TikTok announced that they had migrated their US user data to Oracle cloud servers based in the US, and that they would eventually delete backups of their US user data from their own proprietary servers.
Carr wrote in the letter that he was not confident in the announcement. “TikTok has long claimed that their US user data has been stored on servers in the United States, and yet these representations provided no protection against the data accessed from Beijing,” he said. “TikTok’s statement that ‘100% of US user traffic is routed to Oracle’ actually says nothing about where this data can be accessed from.”
– CNN’s Oliver Darcy contributed to this report