Chinese application TikTok, owned by ByteDance, might not be able to prolong its stay in the US as calls to ban it permanently have grown further. After the app was banned from federal government offices, now the call to remove it from app stores have started coming. In the latest move, Senator Michael Bennet, a Democrat in the Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to Apple's Tim Cook and Google's Sundar Pichai saying that the application should be taken down from their stores as it threatens the national security of US.
What Bennet said in his letter? Benett in his letter to Alphabet and Apple has said that TikTok's vast presence in US pose a threat to the US national security because of its obligations to the Chinese government which says that the company will have to share private data with the government.
"Article 7 of China's National Intelligence Law decrees that any organisation or citizen shall support,assist and cooperate with the state intelligence work." he said. Bennet in his letter wrote that Article 14 of China's National Intelligence Law the provides the Chinese authorities the authority to demand cooperation from companies like ByteDance, while Article 16 and 17 allow the intelligence agents to access relevant materials and files and make use of its communication and facilities.
Benett mentioned a BuzzFeed report from June 2022, which showed that the TikTok engineers in China had access to the data of US users between September 2021 and January 2022.
"Everything is seen in China," said one TikTok employee in the recordings produced by BuzzFeed. The recordings also talk about "Master Admin" engineer in China who "has access to everything."
TikTok in the bad books of US government: The Chinese application has been in the bad books of the US government since September 2020, when the Donald Trump administration tried to bar the application.
The concerns have increased further in the last few weeks as the Republicans and the Democrats have called for officials to impose stricter data collection restrictions on the app.
On its part, the Chinese company ByteDance brought out a detailed plan in August 2022 on how it plans to prevent the Chinese government from having the access of the data of US users and how the US government can oversee the platform.The Biden administration is yet to respond on the company's plan.
As of now, at least 27 state governments have passed laws for full or partial bans on the app, while a bipartisan bill has also been introduced in Congress in December, which would ban TikTok for everyone in the United States.