It looks like President Donald Trump, fresh off of adding Roe v. Wade to his trophy wall, was right again.
After a new report revealed that China-based employees of ByteDance – the parent company of TikTok – had regular and sweeping access to nonpublic U.S. user data, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said in a June 24 open letter that the popular, Chinese video sharing app is a wolf in “sheep’s clothing” that should be dumped from the Apple and Google app stores.
According to the report from Buzzfeed News, leaked audio from internal meetings among American TikTok employees revealed the massive security problem.
Carr, the Federal Communications Commission’s senior Republican member, cited the recent report and called for the app to be banned in his communication to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, reported The New York Post.
He characterized TikTok’s video- and meme-sharing functions as “sheep’s clothing” that cloaked questionable privacy practices and data-harvesting.
“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 … and voiceprints.”
“It is clear that TikTok poses an unacceptable national security risk due to its extensive data harvesting being combined with Beijing’s apparently unchecked access to that sensitive data,” Carr wrote in the letter, which was also made available on his Twitter account.
In 2020, the U.S. government announced that it was banning of TikTok at the request of then-President Trump, who openly called the app a national security threat, according to Wikipedia. The led to ByteDance — which had planned to sell a small portion of TikTok to an American company — agreeing to divest TikTok, but a lawsuit ensued.
The following year, the newly installed Joe Biden signed an executive order revoking the Trump administration ban on TikTok.