Latest in Gear

Image credit:

House panel asks Apple, Google if app makers must reveal foreign ties

It's concerned TikTok, Grindr and other apps might pose security risks.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
December 14, 2019
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

REUTERS/Stringer

The US is growing increasingly suspicious of foreign-made apps. House national security subcommittee chairman Rep. Stephen Lynch has sent letters to Apple and Google asking whether or not they require app developers to disclose "potential overseas affiliations" before software shows up in their respective stores. The congressman is worried about claims that apps like TikTok, Grindr and FaceApp may be providing sensitive data to the governments of China and Russia.

Lynch speculated that these countries could use the data to blackmail and recruit American government workers, or obtain "undue foreign influence" on US policy. He also imagined a scenario where hostile countries could use the data to profile everyday US citizens for the sake of future diplomatic and military battles.

Apple and Google haven't commented so far.

There's no clear evidence that companies like these have sent sensitive info to less-than-friendly government agencies. TikTok owner ByteDance, for example, has maintained that its US operations are detached from those in China. However, that hasn't satisfied critics concerned about China's influence, such as TikTok temporarily pulling a video highlighting China's mistreatment of Uighur Muslims. The US government went so far as to make Kunlun sell Grindr by June 2020 to eliminate any questions of security risks. Apple and Google won't necessarily be forced to reveal foreign roots for mobile apps, but they'll undoubtedly be under pressure to explain their roles in distributing those apps.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Presenting the Best of CES 2021 winners!

Presenting the Best of CES 2021 winners!

View
ICYMI: More gadget highlights from CES 2021

ICYMI: More gadget highlights from CES 2021

View
Facebook and Google allegedly cut a deal that reduced ad competition

Facebook and Google allegedly cut a deal that reduced ad competition

View
Philips Hue module turns any light switch into a smart switch

Philips Hue module turns any light switch into a smart switch

View
Asics used EEGs to prove that, yes, running makes you happier

Asics used EEGs to prove that, yes, running makes you happier

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr