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US Lawmakers Ask Apple and Google To Probe Chinese-Made Apps To Track User Data

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Government pressure against China rages on, as Congress asked Apple and Google to rally against Chinese apps. They mean apps like TikTok. US lawmakers have asked both companies for favors. According to them, Apple and Google must use their powers to probe these other apps. Mainly, they should look at where these apps store user data.

What the US Congress Wants with TikTok

Gizmodo reports that the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Reform sent these letters. The letters came after privacy concerns on Chinese-made apps. Lawmakers are concerned these apps threaten national security. Since Apple and Google both own their app stores, they have the power to screen all of them. According to the request, they have to filter third-party app developers. This move includes all apps made by Chinese companies.

Stephen Lynch wrote his concerns over foreign-made apps. Apple and Google should “ensure that users are aware” of the risks in using these apps. These apps could store users’ sensitive data in countries hostile to the US. Their developers might also be working with enemy companies. Lynch is the chairman of the National Security Subcommittee.

Lynch had asked Apple and Google about this idea before. However, they could not tell him if they had the policy to filter out foreign-made apps. They didn’t require non-US developers to identify their home country. These developers also didn’t have to name the nation where they store user data.

When TikTok Threatens National Security

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Reuters reports that the US government is readying regulations to ban Chinese apps. These rules will stop the government from doing business with China. Products coming from Chinese companies like “Huawei, Hikvision, and Dahua” will be banned.

Companies will now have to say where they get their products. They have to tell the government if they are using China-made products. Even if China is the top seller of certain products, US companies cannot buy from them. Huawei sells millions of smartphones worldwide. Hikvision and Dahua lead the market in surveillance equipment.

The US and China have not been getting along recently. Their tensions have prompted this rule.

The US Government’s Domestic Surveillance Program

However, Gizmodo also notes that the US also uses apps to spy on its citizens. Any American with a cell phone cannot escape this spying. But now, people take government tracking their data for granted. This year, the US almost allowed the FBI to seize search histories without a warrant. Apple and Google could also answer questions about where they put user data and what they do with them.

Everybody might have to wait for Apple and Google to respond.

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