One of the commissioners of the US telecoms regulator believes that the Chinese application poses a risk to national security.
Brendan Carr is not flinching. A fervent critic of TikTok, the commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the American telecoms regulatory agency, is calling for the platform to be banned in the United States. “There is no other solution so that American user data does not end up in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party”he explains to Axios.
The FCC commissioner has no authority to ban TikTok. But his concerns are increasing the pressure on the Chinese social network, in full negotiation with the Biden administration. US President Joe Biden has asked the US Department of Commerce to produce recommendations to protect citizens’ data against “foreign adversaries”. TikTok is indeed owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company.
Meanwhile, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews business deals with non-US companies, conducts a security review of TikTok and negotiates with the company.
According to the New York Times, a deal is close to being reached. It provides for user data to be hosted exclusively in the United States. If the text is adopted, the data can still be consulted by the Chinese teams of ByteDance. However, information deemed sensitive will be reviewed exclusively by US employees.
Brendan Carr’s comments come less than a week before the midterm elections. Unlike his predecessor Donald Trump, Joe Biden wants to be more measured against TikTok. A new Congress could take stronger action to ban or limit the app.
SEE ALSO – TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube… US senators criticize the impact of social networks on children
This is not the first time that US government officials have campaigned for the platform to be banned. The company has been repeatedly accused of massively collecting user data, which the Chinese government could theoretically access.
In June, BuzzFeed News revealed that ByteDance employees repeatedly had access to non-public data on several American users of the social network. In a blog post published on November 2, the company also acknowledged that European user data could, “subject to demonstrated need, a series of robust approval protocols and through recognized methods under the GDPRto be reviewed by employees based in China.
A spokesperson for TikTok had tried to reassure the various American elected officials by arguing that “ TikTok has never shared US user data with the Chinese government and would not if asked. ” Without success. Brendan Carr is sticking to his guns. “Once the Chinese Communist Party gets this data, there are all kinds of spying and blackmailing activities it can engage in”the FCC commissioner said earlier this week.
If a ban goes into effect, more than 94 million users would be affected according to Statista. The United States would join India, the only country to outright ban TikTok.
SEE ALSO – Jonathan Noble: “TikTok will become essential for businesses”