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US Senator Bennet to Apple and Google: Ban TikTok From Your App Stores

US Senator Bennet to Apple and Google: Ban TikTok From Your App Stores

United States Senator Michael Bennet today released an open letter to Apple and Google executives, urging them to remove Chinese-owned social app TikTok from their app stores, claiming the app poses a specific threat to US national security.

The New York Times reports Bennet, a Democrat of Colorado and member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, sent the letter to Apple’s Tim Cook and Google’s Sundar Pichai. In the letter, Bennet said

that no company subject to “Chinese Communist Party dictates should have the power to accumulate such extensive data on the American people or curate content to nearly a third of our population.”

“TikTok’s vast influence and aggressive data collection pose a specific threat to US national security because of its parent company’s obligations under Chinese law,” wrote Bennet. “Article 7 of China’s National Intelligence Law decrees that ‘any organization or citizen shall support, assist, and cooperate with state intelligence work.’ Article 14 provides Chinese state security agencies the authority to demand cooperation from companies like ByteDance, while Articles 16 and 17 allow intelligence agents to access relevant materials and files and make use of its communication tools and facilities.”

Bennet’s letter concluded with: “Given these grave and growing concerns, I ask that you remove TikTok from your respective app stores immediately.”

In June, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr called on Apple and Google to remove the TikTok app from their app stores due to its “pattern of surreptitious data practices.”

In December, it was announced that The US House of Representatives administration had banned TikTok from US government devices, meaning that no one is allowed to install and use the app on government devices.

As far back as 2020, when former US President Donald Trump announced his intention to ban TikTok from devices in the United States. That ban was never put into effect. Earlier in 2022, the US Federal Communications Commission suggest that the TikTok app be removed from Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store. The regulator said at the time that TikTok is a “sophisticated surveillance tool” for the Chinese government.

In August 2022, security researcher Felix Krause said TikTok’s customer in-app browser on iOS injects JavaScript code into external websites. allowing TikTok to monitor “all keyboard inputs and taps” while the user visits a website in the app

TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has confirmed that some of its China-based employees can access data from TikTok users in the United States. However, the company said that the employees are “subject to a series of robust cybersecurity controls and authorization approval protocols.”

Senator Bennet’s full letter to Apple and Google can be seen on Scribd.

(Via MacRumors)