TikTok is a security risk, but will it be removed from app stores?

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) — An FCC commissioner wants the TikTok app removed from app stores — and he’s giving the two big tech giants Apple and Google just days to remove it.

TikTok videos are flooding the internet as more than 100 million Americans use it, but FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr says it needs to stop. He called it an “unacceptable security risk”.

Carr sent letters to Apple and Google, which he posted on Twitter, saying he wanted the TikTok app removed from app stores by July 8.

Carr says “TikTok isn’t just another video app. It’s the sheep’s clothing.

He claims that TikTok “harvests swaths of sensitive data that…is viewed in Beijing”

In Carr’s tweet, he quotes a recent Buzz Feed Report as the basis of his claims.

Data collection is not new. It’s been going on for years.

“Apple, Microsoft, Google, they all have a lot of data points on us,” said Cybersecurity Expert Craig Petronelle. “There are thousands of data points on everyone. All your movements, with all the sensors of your phone, everything is cataloged. »

But Carr fears that data collection by TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is under the direction of the Chinese government.

He claims that ByteDance is required by Chinese law to comply with that country’s surveillance requirements.

For its part, ByteDance calls BuzzFeed’s claims “misleading” saying:

“We use access controls like encryption and security monitoring to secure user data.”

But what if TikTok is no longer available? Security experts say this could lead to bigger problems.

“If abandoned, no fix is ​​available,” Petronella said. “There will be flaws discovered and exploited – made public on the internet and there is a risk of compromise.”

Back in 2020President Trump issued this executive order banning TikTok and its companion app We Chat.

These executive orders were later overturned by President Biden, but that was not the end.

Last year, President Biden asked the Commerce Department to look into TikTok.

The ministry says the review is still ongoing.

Lance B. Holton