TikTok Security Risk Concerns

TikTok Logo

A hugely famous platform, TikTok is now trending for a reason apart from its entertainment factor. The commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Brendan Carr, has called on Apple and Google to remove the popular video-sharing app TikTok from their app stores. In a statement, Carr said that the app “poses a security risk to individual’s sensitive data” and that “it’s time for the two largest app stores in the world to stop offering it.”

He has called for a ban on the app, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, which initially faced scrutiny under the governance of President Donald Trump. His consensus is that this widely popular platform is collecting the data of users and thus is a threat owing to China-related data policy concerns. There have been reports in the past of TikTok collecting data on users’ location, contacts, and other sensitive information.

What Is The TikTok Security Threat?

Carr believes that TikTok collects “vast swaths of data” on its users, including their phone’s browsing logs, draft texts, biometric passcodes and prints, data stored in the device’s clipboard, contact information, and even their precise location data. He argues that Tiktok does not adhere to Apple and Google’s security practices since the app is able to access sensitive data.

Should TikTok Stay or Go?

While some of the leading security and privacy-focused agencies, together with the United States’ administration, are stressing the removal of the application from the App Stores, it’s no secret that the app is one of the most widely used platforms around the globe—used by minors and seniors alike.

On the other hand, some countries like India have already banned the app, which may be followed by other countries owing to increasing cases of data and privacy breaches.

Carr asked the two corporate giants to remove TikTok from their respective stores by July 8. He added that if it was not done by the due date, both Apple and Google would be responsible for providing adequate reasons explaining the delay by July 24. In the reports shared by Carr, it is explicitly stated how TikTok is non-compliant with the privacy policy of both Apple and Google.

Finally, in his tweet, Carr mentioned how this application was not simply for the purpose of entertainment—referring to it as “the sheep’s clothing,” while it actually works as a surveillance tool to collect the personal and sensitive information of its users. So far, TikTok has denied all allegations of data misuse, and the company says that it takes user privacy seriously. But with the platform’s popularity only growing, it’s likely that we’ll hear more about data privacy concerns in the future and what Google and Apple do in the case.

As of the writing of this blog, TikTok is still available.  Apparently The FCC doesn’t have the power to regulate app stores, social media or software.   That doesn’t mean, however, that the public should ignore the FCC’s concerns about the TikTok security risk to their personal data. 

In a digital landscape like ours, there’s nothing more important than privacy. At BSC Solutions Group, we pride ourselves on being your corporate Information Technology “Guardian Angels”. If you want to take steps to better secure  your data, contact us today or schedule your free consultation to get started!