TikTok could be in for another legal order to stay up in the US.
It appears that the app could be in trouble again, with FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr publishing an open letter that calls for both Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores due to it's ''data practises'', which specifically relates to how it shares data with its Chinese parent company.
Brendan Carr stated: “TikTok is not what it appears to be on the surface. It’s not just an app for sharing funny videos or memes. That’s the sheep’s clothing. At its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data.”
Carr notes that TikTok tracks a range of data inputs, including a search and browsing history, keystroke patterns, biometric identifiers, draft messages, and other metadata. At the same time, it can also access text, images, and videos that are stored on a device's clipboard.
Or at least it used to. Back in 2020 with the introduction of iOS 14 TikTok users saw that the app was tracking their clipboard content, with the new iOS notifications, showed them that TikTok was accessing their clipboard content every few seconds. A lot of people were questioning why it needed to do that, and TikTok said they'd remove that element from their app - but the fact that TikTok was disingenuously getting user data underlined issues and concerns that it's being used to gain insight into its users. And with the parent company ByteDance beholden to the CCP (Chinese Comunist Party), the concern remains that TikTok could inadvertently be used as a surveillance tool.
Carr further notes that Political leaders have flagged concerns about the app at several times, and says that the case against the app is compelling enough to remove it from the US entirely, either via policy ruling or by Apple and Google cutting it off from their platforms.
The policy route has already been tested, with former President Donald Trump, issuing an Executive Order that would have forced the sale of the app into US ownership, to alleviate data sharing concerns.
Though the legal grounding for that push was never established, and shortly after the 2020 election, president joe Biden advised his staff to step back from the long-running TikTok challenge - though even then, Biden noted that he held concerns about the app and its systems.