Apple and Google asked if apps must disclose foreign ties

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There are concerns about Chinese investment in apps like TikTok.

What you need to know

  • Apple and Google have been asked about the disclosure mobile apps must provide regarding overseas ties.
  • The chair of a U.S. congressional panel has written to both companies on the issue.
  • Rep. Stephen Lynch cited recent press reports of national security risks over the data of U.S. Citizens.

Chair of a U.S. congressional panel Rep. Stephen Lynch has written to Apple and Google regarding whether or not app developers are required to disclose overseas ties.

As reported by Reuters, Lynch revealed his request in a statement on Friday. This follows concerns that have been raised about the use of data by apps that have ties or investment with overseas countries, in particular, China.

In his statement he 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… U.S. laws permit mobile applications to collect massive amounts of personal information about their users.”

Whilst there has been a lot of scrutiny over the use of user data recently, Tik Tok and China have been given a particularly hard time over the issue. The report notes that Tik Tok is being scrutinized by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). Recently, Senator Josh Hawley also introduced a bill seeking to prohibit American companies from storing user data abroad.

The report notes that TikTok owners ByteDance has sought to distance its app from much of its Chinese operations in wake of the scrutiny.

Neither Apple nor Google have commented on the most recent question of disclosure of overseas ties.