Congressman Stephen Lynch, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, is calling on Apple and Google to provide more transparency regarding foreign apps.
Amid the ongoing controversy surrounding TikTok, India’s purge of Chinese apps and the bans on Chinese telecommunications firms, there is increased scrutiny on the potential security risks that foreign apps and companies may pose. In particular, where user data is stored is a big concern. For example, TikTok was recently sued for allegedly uploading an individual’s data to China without consent.
Both Apple and Google confirmed they do not require app developers to disclose where any stored data will be housed, nor are they required to inform users of such arrangements.
“As industry leaders, Apple and Google can and must do more to ensure that smartphone applications made available to U.S. citizens on their platforms protect stored data from unlawful foreign exploitation, and do not compromise U.S. national security,” Chairman Lynch wrote. “At a minimum, Apple and Google should take steps to ensure that users are aware of the potential privacy and national security risks of sharing sensitive information with applications that store data in countries adversarial to the United States, or whose developers are subsidiaries of foreign companies.”
We will continue to monitor this story and provide updates as it develops.