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Biden’s FCC Demands ‘Sophisticated Surveillance Tool’ TikTok Be Ripped from App Stores

Mediaite logo Mediaite 6/29/2022 Zachary Leeman

TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

The government’s battle against TikTok did not leave with Donald Trump as Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr released a letter asking the app be removed from stores by Google and Apple immediately. Carr called TikTok a “sophisticated surveillance tool” in the letter and claimed it presents a “national security threat.”

“TikTok is not what it appears to be on the surface,” Carr wrote in the letter, which he tweeted out this week. “It is not just an app for sharing funny videos or memes. That’s the sheep’s clothing.”

Carr addressed his concerns to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

TikTok has responded to criticisms that user data is accessed by their parent company in Beijing by claiming they have put security tools in place to house data within the U.S. Carr refutes this claim and says new reports show user data is still accessed in China.

“It harvests swaths of sensitive data that new reports show are being accessed in Beijing,” he tweeted. “I’ve called on @Apple & @Google to remove TikTok from their app stores for its pattern of surreptitious data practices.”


Video: FCC calls on Apple and Google to remove TikTok from app stores (NBC News)

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According to a recent report by Buzzfeed, despite TikTok’s claims of new security measures, data from the U.S. has been accessed numerous times by their parent company, ByteDance, and Beijing engineers in recent months.

A spokesperson for TikTok issued a statement to the Washington Post this week claiming that U.S. user data is routed within the country and the company is working on “additional safeguards.”

“We’re pleased that we now route 100% of U.S. user traffic to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, and we are continuing to work on additional safeguards on U.S. data for improved peace of mind for our community,” company spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter said, according to the Post.

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