FCC commissioner Brendan Carr urged Google and Apple to remove TikTok from their app stores over security concerns, but does this mean the app will be banned? Here’s everything you need to know.
On June 28, FCC commissioner Brendan Carr addressed a letter to Apple and Google CEOs Tim Cook and Sundar Pichai in which he called for the removal of TikTok from their app stores, following an “alarming new report” from BuzzFeed which claimed the app “collects vast troves of sensitive data about U.S. users” which was then accessed by officials in Beijing.
“It is clear that TikTok poses an unacceptable national security risk due to its extensive data being combined with Beijing’s apparently unchecked access to that data,” he wrote. “But it is also clear that TikTok’s pattern of conduct and misrepresentations regarding the unfettered access that persons in Beijing have to sensitive U.S. user data … puts it out of compliance with policies that both of your companies require every app to adhere to as a condition of remaining available on your app stores.”
TikTok is not just another video app.That’s the sheep’s clothing.
It harvests swaths of sensitive data that new reports show are being accessed in Beijing.
— Brendan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) June 28, 2022
Later in the letter, he stated: “If you do not remove TikTok from your app stores, please provide separate responses to me by July 8, 2022, explaining the basis for your company’s conclusion that the surreptitious access of private and sensitive U.S. user data by persons located in Beijing, coupled with TikTok’s pattern of misleading representations and conduct, does not run afoul of any of your app store policies.”
Carr’s deadline of July 8 has caused some users to speculate that the app could be banned soon, but is this likely to be the case?
Is TikTok getting removed?
Although it is difficult to predict exactly how this situation will unfold, for the time being, it seems unlikely that TikTok will be removed from app stores.
However, we will have to wait for a response from Apple and Google before we know whether they have any plans to remove it.
According to Reuters, in a previous response to security concerns, TikTok conceded that China-based employees “can have access to TikTok U.S. user data subject to a series of robust cybersecurity controls and authorization approval protocols overseen by our U.S.-based security team.”
However, they also said they expected “to delete U.S. users’ protected data from our own systems and fully pivot to Oracle cloud servers located in the U.S.”
This isn’t the first time TikTok has been in danger of being removed. In 2020, the US attempted to ban the app with an executive order, however, the planned ban for the platform was eventually blocked by a federal judge.