US Senator Pressures Apple and Google to Remove TikTok From App Stores

United States Senator Michael Bennet wrote a letter to executives of both Apple and Google, calling for the tech giants to remove TikTok from their respective app stores. Bennet believes that the Chinese-owned video creation platform poses security threats, furthering the same narrative that’s been brewing for a number of years.

Apple’s Tim Cook and Google’s Sundar Pichai are now on the receiving end of the Colorado Democrat’s letter. According to The New York Times, the letter states that neither company should allow the Chinese Communist Party to have the “power to accumulate such extensive data on the American people.”

The letter goes on to state that “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.” Bennet continues in citing a number of articles under China’s National Intelligence Law. He then brings up a 2022 article from Buzzfeed that claims that the user data of US TikTok accounts has been breached by engineers in China. The report claims that China had access to U.S. data over the months between September 2021 and January 2022. Bennet uses this in his argument prior to a concluding statement saying, “Given these grave and growing concerns, I ask that you remove TikTok from your respective app stores immediately.”

TikTok has long been a divisive app in the eye of regulators in the U.S. (and Canada to a lesser extent). Going back to 2020, former U.S. President Trump had at one point attempted to ban TikTok over data privacy concerns. Even more recently, in 2022, U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner Brendan Carr urged both Apple and Google to also remove TikTok from their respective app marketplaces. Carr believed TikTok showed an unwillingness to comply with app store policies when it came to accessing US user data.

TikTok parent company ByteDance has attempted to quell concerns by ensuring measures are in place in order to stop the Chinese government from accessing user data. However, as of yet, no plan has satiated regulators nor faces in the Republican and Democrat parties. According to the National Post, Canada’s government is keeping a close eye on the U.S. legislation that vies to see TikTok banned. However, a TikTok spokesperson claims Canadian user data is stored in the U.S. and Singapore and that the Chinese government has no access to it.

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