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US authorities want Apple and Google to remove TikTok from app stores


A commissioner with the U.S Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has written to Apple and Google asking them to remove TikTok from their app stores.

The FCC regulates the telecommunications industry in the United States, and part of its work is to oversee entities such as TikTok, Facebook, Twitter and others.

Brendan Carr, a commissioner with FCC  wrote to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai claiming that TikTok, the overwhelmingly popular short video app is engaged in data collection of U.S citizens.

“TikTok is not what it appears to be on the surface. It is not just an app for sharing funny videos or memes. That’s the sheep’s clothing,” he said in the letter. “At its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data.”

TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance and has previously come under sharp criticism, particularly during the administration of President Donald Trump.

Carr’s letter was carried FCC’s letterhead and directed the two giant companies to provide statements to him by July 8 if they fail to remove TikTok from their app stores.

The statements, Carr wrote, should demonstrate that Google and Apple had sufficient grounds to show that sending personal data to Beijing China, where ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company is headquartered, was not in breach of the store’s policies.

Google and Apple should also explain whether they believed TikTok’s “pattern of misleading representations and conduct, does not run afoul of any of your app store policies.” Carr wrote.

Earlier in the month, online publication BuzzFeed reported that engineers in China had access to U.S data between September 2021 and January 2022. BuzzFeed claimed to have obtained statements from TikTok employees confirming the same.

There is a continued push to have giant tech companies walk a thin line where data safety and security is concerned. This notwithstanding, the fresh demands from a person of authority and influence within FCC can be trailed by the incessant wars between China and the U.S. over technological advancements.

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Simon W Nderitu

Simon is a tech enthusiast who keeps a close eye on emerging technologies, startups and the general business environment. You will often catch him totally immersed and drooling over Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, IoT and just about any other tech that promises to revolutionize the way we live. Send tips to snderitu@techtrendske.co.ke

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