June 29, 2022 – Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr called on Apple and Google to remove popular Beijing-based video-sharing app TikTok from their app stores.
The app is operated by ByteDance, a company that is “beholden to the Communist Party of China and bound by Chinese law to comply with PRC surveillance requirements”, read the letter of June 24 to the CEO of Apple Tim Cook and CEO of Google Sunder Pichai.
“It is clear that TikTok poses an unacceptable national security risk due to its intensive data collection combined with Beijing’s seemingly uncontrolled access to this sensitive data,” Carr said, calling him a wolf in sheep’s clothing. “At its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests large amounts of personal and sensitive data” such as search histories, keystroke patterns and biometric identifiers.
Carr says TikTok’s behavior regarding people in Beijing having access to sensitive US data violates policies that both companies require every app to meet as a condition of remaining available on app stores. “I request that you apply the plain text of your app store policies to TikTok and remove it from your app stores for violating these terms.”
TikTok has assured users that American’s data is stored in the United States but, according to Carr, that statement “says nothing about where that data can be accessed.”
FCC opens map data system early for filers
The Federal Communications Commission published a public notice Thursday, announcing that depositors of broadband availability data in its new cards can get early access to the depositor information registration system.
The filing window for broadband data collection opens June 30, but early access will allow users to register their entities in the system and get familiar with the system before then, the FCC said.
“We are making this feature available before the filing window opens to allow registrants to log in, register and be ready to enter their availability data as early as possible in the filing window,” reads -on in the public notice.
The BDC program is said to be helping improve broadband mapping data to help channel federal dollars to where broadband infrastructure is needed. Most fixed and mobile broadband providers will be required to file information into the system, but third parties and government entities are also encouraged.
Impact of Internet Access on COVID-19 Mortality
New analysis published last week by private research university Tufts found that increasing broadband access in the United States reduced COVID-19-related death rates.
“Even after controlling for a host of other socioeconomic factors, a 1% increase in broadband access in the United States reduced COVID mortality by approximately 19 deaths per 100,000, all things being equal by elsewhere,” the report read.
The study also found that the impact was felt most strongly in metropolitan areas, where a 1% increase in broadband access reduced the number of deaths by 36 per 100,000.
By performing correlation analysis, Tuft researchers found that broadband access is negatively correlated with COVID mortality, even after controlling for other major factors such as health status, income, race and education.
The study only considered the pre-vaccine number to account for inconsistencies.