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July 20, 2022

“Unacceptable National Security Risk”: FCC Calls For Popular App’s Removal

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY…
1921: Congresswoman Alice Mary Robertson becomes the first woman to preside over the floor of US House of Representatives.

Brendan Carr, the commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), called on Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores, citing national security concerns.

Carr outlined his concerns in a letter to Tim Cook and Sundar Pichai late last month.

“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 wrote in the letter dated June 24, 2022.

“But it is also clear that TikTok’s pattern of conduct and misrepresentations regarding the unfettered access that persons in Beijing have sensitive US user data … puts it out of compliance with the policies that both of your companies require every app to adhere to as a condition of remaining available on your app stores,” he wrote.

“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.”

Carr detailed the national security risks in a Twitter thread.

“TikTok is not just another video app. That’s the sheep’s clothing,” Carr wrote on Twitter. “It harvests swaths of sensitive data that new reports show are being accessed in Beijing.”

The FCC commissioner said that TikTok “collects search and browsing histories, keystroke patterns, biometric identifiers, draft messages and metadata, plus it has collected the text, images, and videos that are stored on a device’s clipboard.”

Carr noted that both Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Congress have raised concerns about TikTok and its Beijing-based parent company Bytedance.

“TikTok’s pattern of misrepresentations coupled with its ownership by an entity beholden to the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] has resulted in U.S. military branches and national security agencies banning it from government devices. Bipartisan leaders in both the Senate and House have flagged concerns,” Carr said.

But a TikTok executive claimed that the wildly popular app doesn’t pose any security concerns.

During a rare interview with CNN’s Reliable Sources, Michael Beckerman, VP, Head of Public Policy, Americas at TikTok, largely refuted the FCC’s claims.

“He’s mentioning we’re collecting browser history, like we’re tracking you across the internet. That’s simply false,” Beckerman said. “It is something that a number of social media apps do without checking your browser history across other apps. That is not what TikTok does.”

When asked if the CCP has seen any non-public user data, the TikTok executive said, “We have never shared information with the Chinese government nor would we.”

“We have US-based security teams that manage access, manage the app, and, as actual national security agencies like the CIA during the Trump administration pointed out, the data that’s available on TikTok—because it’s an entertainment app—is not of a national security importance.”

But Buzzfeed News reported that leaked audio from internal meetings showed that Beijing-based TikTok employees “repeatedly” accessed US user data from September 2021 to January 2022.

“Everything is seen in China,” a member of TikTok’s Trust and Safety department reportedly said during a meeting in September 2021.

In another September 2021 meeting, a director allegedly referred to an engineer in China as a “Master Admin” who “has access to everything.”

2 comments on “Unacceptable National Security Risk”: FCC Calls For Popular App’s Removal

  1. Trish says:

    It took you long enough. President Trump warned about that a couple years ago. Just like the o’biden regime, always too late, but at least thankful they are doing something now. Good luck.

  2. mike kerrigan says:

    The U.S. is being destroyed from within by agencies that are in place to protect the Country – such as the FCC, FBI CIA.

    Failures of these agencies are made public – yet nothing is done about it……WHY????

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