TikTok should be banned from Apple and Google app stores, demands FCC commissioner

App accused of harvesting users’ data

Apple and Google should remove TikTok from their app stores, according to one of the FCC’s commissioners.

TikTok “harvests swaths of sensitive data that new reports show are being accessed in Beijing”, according to Brendan Carr, a republican on the Federal Communications Commission.

The criticism is a reference to reporting last week that appeared to show that TikTok’s Chinese owners were able to access data on the app’s users.

But Mr Carr said that report was just one part of “an overwhelming body of evidence that TikTok presents a serious national security threat”.

Republican politician Mr Carr wrote to Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, as well as Alphabet and Google boss Sundar Pichai.

“I am requesting that you apply the plain text of your app store policies to TikTok and remove it from your app stores for failure to abide by those terms,” Mr Carr wrote in the letter.

It is just the latest attack on TikTok by US politicians, who have repeatedly suggested the app’s huge popularity in the country puts citizens’ data at risk.

Donald Trump repeatedly suggested that he would ban the app, for instance, if it was not sold to a US firm. In the end, Mr Trump’s interest in the ban waned.

While the Biden administration has showed concerns over the storage of American data in China, it has not pushed for the app to be banned or sold in the same way.

TikTok has looked to address the criticisms by committing to move US data to Oracle’s servers, so that personal information is stored within the country. Mr Carr said he was unhappy with that resolution, and suggested that the data could still be “accessed from Beijing”.

Mr Carr’s request is not official and Apple and Google are not required to comply. The FCC does not regulate app stores and the commission is chaired by a Democrat.

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