The US FCC Commissioner has written to Apple and Google calling on the Silicon Valley giants to axe TikTok from app stores for “its pattern of surreptitious data practices.”
In a letter to the Big Tech big dogs Sundar Pichai and Tim Cook, he wrote: “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 accused the social media of being a surveillance tool and a risk to users.
The move comes after Buzzfeed News’ report earlier this month said that Chinese TikTok staff had access to US user data until January of this year.
Following this exposé, the company said that all US users’ data would be moved to Oracle servers situated in the country.
“We’re also making operational changes in line with this work – including the new department we recently established, with US-based leadership, to solely manage US user data for TikTok,” the company explained.
ByteDance-owned TikTok has over one billion users globally.
Commenting on the move from the FCC, CEO of video privacy and security company Pimloc Simon Randall said: “The FCC isn’t prone to making outlandish statements to get attention. If Google and Apple comply with the FCC’s request to take TikTok off their platforms, this will be the biggest technology scalp that regulators have ever taken on the grounds of privacy.”
“It’s hard to overstate how significant the issue of privacy is to geopolitics and the functioning of a healthy society, especially when so much of our lives are managed ‘online.’All technology companies that process personal information must take steps to embed privacy at the heart of their businesses. Otherwise the regulators are showing that they have the will to act.”