Democratic Senator Michael Bennet, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to the CEOs of Google and Apple (Sundar Pichai and Tim Cook, respectively), asking them to remove TikTok from their app stores because of the serious security risks posed by the Chinese-based platform.
Bennet is the first lawmaker to communicate directly with the companies to urge them to ban the social network from their app marketplaces.
The senator explained that the social network is obliged by Chinese law to cooperate with the Chinese government, which means that the CCP could access Americans' personal data. According to the senator, about 36% of American citizens over the age of 12 use the platform, and a large segment of users spend an average of 80 minutes a day on the app.
NYT: "Democrats are eagerly joining a campaign that was largely led by Republicans until recently" to ban TikTok from the U.S., as Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) urges Google and Apple to use their monopoly power to ban TikTok from their stores.https://t.co/4ZssfJBLcx https://t.co/xQPVXjgsry
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 3, 2023
"TikTok collects vast and sophisticated data from its users, including faceprints and voiceprints," Michael Bennet explained highlighting whether the social network could share that information with Chinese officials if requested.
"Beijing’s requirement raises the obvious risk that the Chinese Communist Party could weaponize TikTok against the United States, specifically, by forcing ByteDance to surrender Americans’ sensitive data or manipulate the content Americans receive to advance China’s interests," he said.
Bennet noted that no company that is subject to such requirements from the Chinese regime should be given the power to collect "such extensive" data on U.S. citizens.
"Given these risks, I urge you to remove TikTok from your respective app stores immediately," he wrote.
NEW: Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), Member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, calls on Apple and Google to remove #TikTok from their app stores.
TikTok presents “an unacceptable threat to the national security of the United States,” Senator Bennet states. pic.twitter.com/YFgLLYFX7p
— Brendan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) February 2, 2023
TikTok ban on government devices
Given the security threat posed by the platform, it was recently decided to ban TikTok on all federal government devices, unless it is being used for national security or law enforcement activities.