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FCC’s Carr says TikTok poses a national security risk, calls for ban

Almost three years after the US first expressed fears about Chinese owned social video platform TikTok, there are renewed calls to ban it from the country.

This time its FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, who has written to Google and Apple, asking them to remove the TikTok app from their respective app stores. We know this, not from a press release, but from Carr’s own tweets on the matter.

It’s hard to read the text of the letter straight from the tweets so we have downloaded them and published legible versions at the bottom of this piece. The long and short of it is that Car read a scoop published by Buzzfeed, which got hold of a bunch of recordings of TikTok internal meetings that appear to show China-based employees of parent company ByteDance have repeatedly accessed non-public data about US users.

Concluding, therefore, that ‘TikTok poses an unacceptable national security risk’, Carr implored Google and Apple to enforce their app store policies by removing the app. The Commissioner went on to detail a rap sheet compiled on TikTok, starting from when alarm bells were first rung back in 2019, as well as listing other times TikTok has raised security concerns.

Google and Apple don’t seem to have publicly responded to the letter, and maybe Carr took to Twitter to put extra pressure on them. The US state has been hostile to TikTok for years but has failed to ban it so far. It’s hard to say whether or not the Buzzfeed scoop amounts to substantial new evidence, and you have to wonder how it got hold of those recordings in the first place, but there will have to be some kind of statement on the matter from the smartphone duopoly sooner or later.

 

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