A top US Democrat wants Apple and Google to force app developers to provide information on data privacy to their users, amid concerns raised by federal officials that China and Russia pose a national security risk through mobile applications.
According to Financial Times, Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, chairman of the subcommittee on nationwide safety inside Home Oversight, wrote to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai to request details about the locations customers’ knowledge is saved from app builders.
Mr. Lynch said the FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence have said mobile applications with ties to foreign adversaries pose a risk to American national security, which prompted his requests to Apple and Google.
“As industry leaders, Apple and Google can and must do more to ensure that smartphone applications made available to U.S. citizens on their platforms protect stored data from unlawful foreign exploitation, and do not compromise U.S. national security,” Chairman Lynch wrote. “At a minimum, Apple and Google should take steps to ensure that users are aware of the potential privacy and national security risks of sharing sensitive information with applications that store data in countries adversarial to the United States, or whose developers are subsidiaries of foreign companies.”
Apple confirmed that it does not require developers to submit “information on where user data (if any such data is collected by the developer’s app) will be housed” and that it “does not decide what user data a third-party app can access, the user does.”
Google stated that it does “not require developers to provide the countries in which their mobile applications will house user data” and acknowledged that “some developers, especially those with a global user base, may store data in multiple countries.”
Foreign-owned applications’ potential for data theft and national security hazards has prompted the Democratic National Committee to issue new guidance last week that warned staffers about using the Chinese-owned TikTok and the Russian application FaceApp