Apple is being questioned by lawmakers over the disclosure of foreign applications in the App Store. Reuters reports that House of Representatives Oversight Committee is seeking answers from both Apple and Google on whether app developers are required to disclose non-US ties.
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In a statement, Rep. Stephen Lynch, chairman of the Oversight Committee, explained that apps in foreign countries can store sensitive data on US citizens. This, in turn, poses “significant national security risks,” Lynch said.
“Recent press reports have shed light on allegations that certain foreign companies and developers may be providing sensitive data on U.S. citizens via their mobile applications to their host governments, thereby creating significant national security risks,” Lynch wrote in similar letters to Google chief executive Sundar Pichai and Apple’s Tim Cook.
The primary focus of this sort of questioning is TikTok, which is owned by Chinese technology company ByteDynce. Apple and ByteDance have both been questioned in the past for their respective relationships with the Chinese governments. ByteDance is currently under investigation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.
The committee essentially wants to know what Apple and Google are doing to make customers aware of the foreign ties held by popular applications like TikTok. The concern is that these developers have the ability to collect user data, and if that data is stored in China and other foreign countries, it could get leaked to the respective governments.
“U.S. laws permit mobile applications to collect massive amounts of personal information about their users,” the letters said, noting that some of the data is sensitive.
Apple and Google have not yet responded to the questioning from Lynch.
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