US Federal Communications Commission calls on Apple, Google to ban TikTok from app stores

DHARAMSALA, 2 July: The head of the US Federal Communications Commission(FCC) has asked Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores “for its pattern of surreptitious data practices.”

 Declaring the video-sharing app TikTok owned by China’s ByteDance as a “video app”  in the “sheep’s clothing” that poses serious national security threats, US FCC chief Brendan Carr has said in a letter addressed to Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook and Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai that the Chinese app “collects vast troves of sensitive data about those US users.”

“Indeed, statistics show that TikTok has been downloaded in the US from the Apple App Store and the Google Play store nearly 19 million times in the first quarter of this year alone. 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,” he has said in the letter calling for both Apple and Google to remove the popular Chinese app from their stores.

The US watchdog chief has further cited numerous instances where US officials, independent cybersecurity experts and privacy and civil rights groups and added that “Within its own borders, the PRC has developed some of the most invasive and omnipresent surveillance capabilities in the world to maintain authoritarian control.” 

The Federal Communications Commission is an independent agency of the United States federal government that regulates communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable across the United States.

In Aug 2020 then US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to ban US firms from doing business with TikTok and WeChat, China’s two biggest apps.

The orders were issued under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, a provision that authorises the white house to bar US firms or citizens from trading or conducting financial transactions with sanctioned parties.

Additionally, TikTok was among a score of Chinese Apps banned by India in June 2020 citing a threat to national security and sovereignty.

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