What you need to know
- Congress has reached out to Google to get clarity over the company's approach to national security risks posed by foreign apps.
- In a letter, the body expressed concerns over the data of U.S. citizens being stored in foreign servers, potentially exposing them to espionage.
- Google has until the 31st of July to respond.
Google has been approached by the U.S. Congress to address issues with mobile apps originating from foreign countries. More particularly, the body expressed concern over data storage policies which could potentially form a vector for a national security intrusion.
Writing to Google, National Security Subcommittee Chairman Stephen Lynch said:
Aside from the controversy of TikTok, UAE messaging app ToTok briefly held the spotlight at the start of the year as a blockbuster report from the New York Times accused the app of being spyware. The danger of smartphone apps being governmental espionage tools has been spotlighted in 2020, and Congress seems to want this issue tackled.
The letter went on to say:
Lynch drafted a similar letter to Apple, expressing the same concerns. Both companies have been given till the end of July to respond to the letter and address a few concerns, including a commitment to notifying users where app developers store their data in Play Store listings as well requesting developers publicly disclose whether they are a subsidiary of a foreign company.
David Pierce over at Protocol identified the concern over foreign apps as a matter of trust, arguing:
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