Apple, Google urged to boot TikTok from app stores: Democratic senator

Senator Michael Bennett (D-Colorado) speaks on a mobile phone after the vote on May 25, 2022, one day after the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas in Capitol Hill, Washington.

Joshua Roberts | Reuters

Colorado Democratic Senator Michael Bennett apple When Google A letter was issued Thursday calling for the immediate removal of TikTok from mobile app stores, citing widespread concerns that the Chinese government has access to information about Americans using the app.

A request from Bennett, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, It highlights both growing concerns about TikTok’s potential national security risks and the power of Apple and Google to decide what kind of apps Americans can access.

Bennet, the CEO of both companies, and TikTok, thanks to its China-based parent company ByteDance, said that unlike other social media platforms, under Chinese law, internal data must be handed over to the government to aid intelligence operations. said there is

“Beijing’s demands pose obvious risks that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) could weaponize TikTok against the United States. “These obvious risks make TikTok, in its current form, a threat to the national security of the United States,” Bennett wrote. It is an unacceptable threat.”

TikTok has repeatedly tried to reassure U.S. lawmakers and officials concerned that it does not store U.S. user data in China. We are negotiating with the US government on ways to mitigate coverage risk.

But so far many lawmakers have remained unconvinced, with Congress passing a bill late last year banning TikTok from government devices. Some have suggested a total ban on TikTok in the US. Varying degrees of TikTok restrictions have also spiked in several states and universities.

In the letter, Bennet cited a BuzzFeed News article from last year based on transcripts of an internal meeting that found that a China-based employee at TikTok’s parent company was repeatedly accessing information about TikTok users in the United States. I am quoting. Bennett also cites a recent Forbes article to explain how TikTok “heats” or boosts selected videos to help them go viral.

“The Chinese Communist Party, via ByteDance, suggests that TikTok could use its influence to advance the interests of the Chinese government, which could be very real,” Bennett said. Hong Kong, Taiwan, or its policy towards Uyghurs. ”

“Unfortunately, Senator Bennett’s letter relies almost entirely on TikTok, the data we collect, and misleading coverage of data security controls,” said Brooke Oberwetter, a TikTok spokesperson. “We also disregard the significant investment we have made through Project Texas, which has sought to provide additional assurances to the community about data security and the integrity of the TikTok platform,” the statement said. It’s a plan negotiated with national security experts.”

Apple and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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