U.S. Asks Apple, Google to Remove TikTok From App Stores Over Privacy Breaches

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The United States (US) Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has requested for the removal of TikTok from tech giants app stores Apple and Google, over users’ data privacy breaches.

FCC Commissioner, Brendan Carr, in the letter addressed to the CEOs of both companies, Tim Cook and Sundar Pichai, accused TikTok and their staff of harvesting and accessing user’s sensitive data in Beijing.

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This motion to remove the trending app, came as a result of an article published by BuzzFeed News which revealed that the video sharing and trends app was in fact, a “sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data”, which allowed TikTok’s staff in China have access to U.S.-based users’ data up until January.

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

“I am writing the two of you because Apple and Google hold themselves out as operating app stores that are safe and trusted places to discover and download apps.

“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,” the FCC Commissioner wrote, in a bid to have the app removed from the app stores for breaching their terms of service.

With nearly 19 million downloads in the first quarter of 2022 alone, TikTok has been reviewed and has remained approved to still remain on the respective app stores, despite coming under suspicion in recent years, being banned in India in 2020 for national security concerns, almost banned by former U.S. President Donald Trump and reviewed by U.S. current President Joe Biden on its relations with China and its access and usage of U.S. user’s data.

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