Lawmakers from the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Reform want Apple and Google to investigate where third-party apps are storing their data.
In two letters sent Tuesday, Stephen Lynch, chairman of the National Security Subcommittee, wrote to Apple and Google that certain non-U.S. apps could pose securities risks.
Congress has concerns about apps
Congress’ letter about apps, addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook, notes:
“As an industry leader, Apple can and must do more to ensure that smartphone applications made available to U.S. citizens on the App Store protect stored data from unlawful foreign exploitation, and do not compromise U.S. national security. At a minimum, Apple 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 overseas companies.”
Lynch asks Apple to commit to several actions. These include requiring developers to disclose the countries in which they store user data collected by their apps, and to make this information available in App Store listings. He also wants Apple to ask developers if they are a “corporate subsidiary of a foreign entity.”
Worries about TikTok (and more)
This letter comes shortly after concerns arose about TikTok, currently the most downloaded non-gaming app in the App Store. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently discussed a possible TikTok ban in the United States over privacy concerns. Asked if people should download the app, he said, “Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Congress is currently investigating Apple over its control of apps via the App Store.