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House Republicans Press Apple, Google on App Origins

House Energy & Commerce Committee Republican leaders are asking for info from Apple and Google about app store practices given the opportunity for COVID-19 scams. 

E&C ranking member Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Consumer Protection Subcommittee Republican ranking member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) wrote the CEO's of both, asking them about how they vet applications for apps, particularly from foreign applications, and particularly with ties to the Chinese Communist Party. 

“As with any crisis, there are those that seek to exploit opportunities for their own malicious intent," they wrote to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. "We believe that bad actors may be taking advantage of the American people’s trust in your brand, which likely extends to apps available through your store. While we want an open and transparent marketplace that does not limit innovators outside your company, we know there are those that seek to use apps as a means to push through pop-up ads or hijack devices to make it a tool for eavesdropping,” the leaders wrote." 

Chinese-backed social media platform TikTok has gotten a lot of attention from Washington, including bills to ban it from government devices.