Is TikTok Getting Banned In The US?

The FCC commissioner in the United States has declared TikTok a national security risk and has requested that Apple and Google remove TikTok from their app stores.

The commissioner of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FTC) accused TikTok of harvesting user data and demanded that Apple and Google remove TikTok from their respective app stores.

China And User Data Risk

Brendan Carr, the FTC commissioner, cited a BuzzFeed News report claiming that China had complete access to user data.

According to leaked audio from TikTok internal meetings, China could access all user data from September 2021 to January 2022.

The timing is significant because TikTok executives testified in October 2021 that who has access is decided by a U.S. security team.

In light of this, Mr. Carr wrote to Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, and Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, requesting that TikTok be removed from their respective app stores.

According to the letter, TikTok is in violation of Apple and Google’s terms and policies.

The commissioner wrote:

“Last week, an alarming new report shed fresh light on the serious national security threats posed by TikTok.

…TikTok is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance – an organization that is beholden to the Communist Party of China and required by Chinese law to comply with the 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.

…Therefore, 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.”

According to Google’s Developer Distribution Agreement, products made available through the Google Play app store must protect user privacy.

The FCC commissioner tweeted:

“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.

I’ve called on @Apple & @Google to remove TikTok from their app stores for its pattern of surreptitious data practices.”

Despite news reports about China’s ability to access sensitive user data from TikTok and the FCC commissioner’s call for TikTok to be removed from Google’s app store, TikTok remained available in both Apple and Google’s app stores.

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