(NewsNation) — FCC commissioner Brendan Carr renewed his calls for Apple and Google to remove the popular video app TikTok from their app stores, citing growing cybersecurity concerns over Chinese influence and spying.
TikTok, whose parent company ByteDance is based in China, is facing new allegations it is being used as a proxy for the Chinese government to spy on and collect data from its American users after a Forbes article alleged it was preparing to track the locations of “specific” U.S. users.
Carr called the new allegations against TikTok “deeply concerning.”
“I’ve been tracking this TikTok issue for a number of months at this point. I’ve been pretty used to disturbing revelations about their conduct, but this most recent one really took me by surprise and sort of took me back,” Carr said.
TikTok has faced multiple scandals in the past Carr that says should have been “knockout blows” for the app “from a national security perspective,” but yet, the app has prevailed and grown in influence.
“It’s time for the ref to blow the whistle and that ref is the U.S. government,” Carr said. “The Biden administration has been looking at this issue for about 18 months now, and frankly, if you ask me, it strikes me that a lot of these reports we’re seeing must be leaked from inside the Biden administration.”
Carr believes the new reporting by Forbes should be the final straw and the U.S. government should go to Apple and Google and tell them to “boot” TikTok from their app stores.
“They have terms of service that say ‘if you’re in our app store you can’t have nefarious data flows, you can’t have data being used for undisclosed purposes and yet, with this reporting, we see that’s exactly what’s taking place.”
Keystroke patterns, search and browsing history and location data are among the things TikTok sends back to Beijing, Carr said.
“Basically a foreign influence campaign, which is to say they can deliver all sorts of content right to you,” Carr said. “And we’ve seen that’s been linked from everything to body and mental health issues among young girls to potentially being used to sway people’s views when it comes to politics.”