Brendan Carr, a member of the US Federal Communications Commission, insists that the app sends sensitive data from US users to China.
A member of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC , for its acronym in English) addressed a letter to the CEOs of Apple and Alphabet, which owns Google, demanding that TikTok be removed from its app stores, accusing the platform of collecting “a large amount of sensitive data about US users” and send them to China.
Brendan Carr, a Republican member of the FCC, shared the letter on his official Twitter account on Tuesday. “TikTok is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, an organization that is subject to the Communist Party of China and is bound by Chinese law to comply with the PRC’s surveillance demands,” the official wrote, citing a BuzzFeedNews report stating that ByteDance engineers in Beijing repeatedly accessed confidential user data from the North American country.
According to Carr, the Chinese platform collects all typ or data, from search history to biometric identifiers, such as voice records or facial prints. TikTok “isn’t just an app for sharing funny videos or memes. It’s [a wolf’s] sheepskin,” he wrote.
In his opinion, TikTok “is a risk unacceptable for national security due to its extensive data collection combined with Beijing’s seemingly uncontrolled access to such sensitive data,” and urged tech giants to either remove it from Google Play and the AppStore or provide statements in those explaining why they have concluded that “access to personal and sensitive data of US users by persons located in Beijing does not violate any policies of their app stores.”
According to the BuzzFeed News report, published last week, nine TikTok employees said that between September last year and last January, platform engineers in China had access to information that is not public.
For its part, a company spokesperson told CNBC that “like many global companies, TikTok has engineering teams around the world.” “We employ access controls such as encryption and security monitoring to protect user data, and the access approval process is overseen by our US-based security team,” he added.
“TikTok has repeatedly maintained that our engineers in locations outside the US, including China, may have access to US user data if necessary under those strict controls”, the spokesperson concluded.