Because of fears that the popular video app TikTok, which is controlled by the Chinese government, may transmit user data from the United States to China, a member of the Federal Communications Commission has urged Google and Apple to remove TikTok from their app stores.
It is very improbable that Mr. Carr’s request would be granted given that the F.C.C. does not currently oversee app stores and that the commission’s Democratic chairwoman is mostly responsible for setting the agenda for the body. However, this demonstrates the consistent pressure that government officials in Washington, DC are putting on Chinese enterprises in the technology sector.
The possibility that TikTok’s Chinese parent firm, ByteDance, may hand over its user data to the Chinese government has long been a source of concern for policymakers. Former President Donald J. Trump attempted to coerce ByteDance from selling the app in 2020; the government of former Vice President Joe Biden has investigated alternative options to prevent the transfer of sensitive American data to China.
TikTok has always said that it is taking measures to prevent personnel located in China from obtaining access to the company’s data. It stated it was passing all data from its customers in the United States via servers run by the American cloud computing corporation Oracle just before a recent news article indicated that it was having trouble doing so.
“TikTok has long stated that its U.S. user data has been kept on servers in the U.S., and yet such representations offered no security against the data being accessible from Beijing,” he said. “TikTok’s U.S. user data has been stored on servers in the U.S.” “Indeed, TikTok’s assertion that “100% of US user traffic is being routed to Oracle” indicates nothing about where those data may be viewed from; Oracle is not mentioned once in the statement.”