RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — An FCC commissioner wants the TikTok app taken out of App stores– and he’s giving the two big tech giants of Apple and Google just days to remove it.
TikTok videos flood the internet as more than 100 million Americans use it, but FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr says that’s got to end. He called it an “unacceptable security risk.”
Carr has sent letters to Apple and Google, which he posted on Twitter, saying he wants the TikTok app removed from app stores by July 8.
Carr says “TikTok is not just another video app. That’s the sheep’s clothing.”
He claims TikTok “harvests swaths of sensitive data that… are being accessed in Beijing”
In Carr’s tweet, he cites a recent Buzz Feed Report as the basis for his claims.
Data harvesting isn’t new. It’s been going on for years.
“Apple, Microsoft, Google, they all have lots of data points on us,” said Cybersecurity Expert Craig Petronella. “There’s thousands of data points on everyone. All your movements, with all the sensors on your phone– it’s all being cataloged.”
But Carr fears the data harvesting by TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is being done under the direction of the Chinese government.
He claims ByteDance is required by Chinese law to comply with that country’s surveillance demands.
For its part ByteDance calls the BuzzFeed allegations “misleading” saying:
“We employ access controls like encryption and security monitoring to secure user data.”
But what happens if TikTok is no longer available? Security experts say that could lead to bigger problems.
“If it’s abandoned, no patches are available,” said Petronella. “There will be holes discovered and exploited–publicized over the internet and there’s a risk of compromise.”
Back in 2020, President Trump issued this executive order banning TikTok and its companion app We Chat.
Those executive orders were later rescinded by President Biden, but that wasn’t the end of it.
Last year President Biden told the Commerce Department to look into TikTok.
The Department says that review is still underway.