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Kick TikTok out of app stores to stop biometric, other sensitive data harvesting says FCC head

Kick TikTok out of app stores to stop biometric, other sensitive data harvesting says FCC head

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Brendan Carr said he has asked Google and Apple to remove TikTok from their app stores on the basis they may leak user data, including biometrics, to China.

The allegations were first made earlier this month by Buzzfeed, which claimed to have obtained audio from 80 internal TikTok meetings.

In response to that, TikTok announced it was moving all U.S. users’ data to Oracle servers situated in the country, and that it would eventually delete the data from servers in China.

However, Carr is now acting on the Buzzfeed claims, calling TikTok the “sheep’s clothing,” and that the app is harvesting “swaths of sensitive data that new reports show is being accessed in Beijing.”

The FCC Commissioner published the letters he addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai in a series of Twitter posts.

“TikTok doesn’t just see its users’ dance videos,” reads the letter. “It collects search and browsing histories, keystroke patterns, biometric identifiers, draft messages, and metadata, plus it has collected the text, images, and videos that are stored on a device’s clipboard.”

Further, Carr mentioned how concerns about biometric data collection have been flagged by bipartisan leaders in both the Senate and House in the past.

“Tiktok’s pattern of misrepresentations coupled with its ownership by an entity beholden to the CCP has resulted in U.S. military branches and national security agencies banning it from government devices,” the Commissioner wrote.

Carr’s letter concludes by giving Google and Apple until July 8th to either remove the app or provide information as to why they will not.

The impact the letter will have is unclear, as Carr was the only signee, but we will follow this story and provide updates as they become available.

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