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Ah, TikTok. Love it or hate it, there’s very little escaping this social media giant’s clutches if you spend literally any amount of time online. There’s no app better at turning even the most ridiculous video into a viral hit - you need only cast your mind back to the Binley Mega Chippy phenomenon from earlier this month (sorry for putting that song in your head again).
Over the past few years though, there’ve been multiple concerns raised about the security and safety of the platform, namely regarding the data it collects. Everyone knows that the ‘For You’ page is almost scarily good at picking out super specific content that users will enjoy. Now, as reported by ComicBook, one commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Brendan Carr, has written an open letter to Apple and Google in an attempt to get the app removed from their app stores.
Just in case you needed the Binley Mega Chippy song ingraining in your head again, here you go.
“TikTok is not what it appears to be on the surface. It is not just an app for sharing funny videos or memes. That’s the sheep’s clothing. At its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data,” Carr wrote. “Indeed, TikTok collects everything from search and browsing histories to keystroke patterns and biometric identifiers, including faceprints - which researchers have said might be used in unrelated facial recognition technology - and voiceprints.
“Moreover, Apple and Google have long claimed to operate their app stores in a manner that protects consumer privacy and safeguards their data. Therefore, I am requesting that you apply your app store policies to TikTok and remove it from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for failing to comply with those policies,” he continued. “If you do not remove TikTok from your app stores, please provide separate responses to me by July 8, 2022, explaining the basis for your company’s conclusion that the surreptitious access of private and sensitive U.S. user data by persons located in Beijing, coupled with TikTok’s pattern of misleading representations and conduct, does not run afoul of any of your app store policies.”
TikTok is not just another video app.— Brendan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) June 28, 2022
That’s the sheep’s clothing.
It harvests swaths of sensitive data that new reports show are being accessed in Beijing.
I’ve called on @Apple & @Google to remove TikTok from their app stores for its pattern of surreptitious data practices. pic.twitter.com/Le01fBpNjn
Whether or not anything will actually come from this remains to be seen - guess we’ll see by 8 July if the companies pay the letter any heed.
Featured Image Credit: Hello I'm Nik via Unsplash, Stillness InMotion via Unsplash
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