TikTok eases anxieties amid report Chinese workers accessed US users' data

TikTok has fended off concerns stemming from leaked audio in a Buzzfeed news report that ByteDance employees in China can access private US user data. Photograph: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto/REX/Shutterstock

Oracle will keep all of TikTok's US user data to assuage concerns about the platform's security, controlled by the Chinese business ByteDance.

BuzzFeed News, citing leaked audio from internal TikTok meetings, said that ByteDance personnel in China routinely accessed private information about US TikTok customers.

Concerns regarding the capacity of Chinese engineers to obtain non-public information about US users have been alleviated by the popular video-snippet-sharing platform. It is usual practice for some engineers at internet companies to be provided access to data, and TikTok told AFP that it is attempting to limit this system's power.

"Similar to our industry peers, we will continue to pursue our goal of limiting the number of employees with access to user data and the scenarios in which data access is enabled," Roland Cloutier, the chief information security officer for TikTok, stated in a blog post highlighted by the firm.

"Our objective is to restrict data access across regions so that, for instance, employees in the (Asia-Pacific) region, including China, have minimal access to user data from the EU and US."

TikTok has been confident that it has never provided US user data to Chinese authorities and would refuse to do so if requested.

A representative for TikTok told AFP, "We've recruited world-class internal and external security experts to help us strengthen our data security efforts."

TikTok stated in a blog post that it would continue to utilize its data centers in Virginia and Singapore for data backups as it strives to "fully pivot" to relying on Oracle in the United States.

Albert Calamug, who manages US security public policy at TikTok, stated, "We are aware that we are one of the most scrutinized platforms from a security perspective, and we intend to eliminate any doubts regarding the security of US user data."

Last year, Joe Biden rescinded executive orders by his predecessor Donald Trump to prohibit the Chinese-owned applications TikTok and WeChat from US markets due to national security concerns.

Trump had agreed to a deal that would have delivered TikTok to Oracle in exchange for investments from retail juggernaut Walmart, but Beijing rejected the arrangement.

Biden's new executive order repealed the unimplemented ban and demanded: "an evidence-based analysis to address the risks" posed by foreign-controlled internet services.

Tencent's WeChat is a "super app" that combines social networking, messaging, e-commerce, and other features.

Late last year, TikTok reported that it had one billion users worldwide.

Today, 100% of US user traffic is routed to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, according to Calamug.

In addition, we are collaborating closely with Oracle to build data management protocols that Oracle will audit and monitor to provide users with even more peace of mind.

Publish : 2022-06-18 07:40:00

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