TikTok tells US lawmakers it’s working to protect user data

The head of the US Federal Communications Commission said he asked Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores due to data security concerns. Pictured here is the TikTok download page on Apple iPhone on August 7, 2020.

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TikTok, a division of China’s ByteDance, has told US lawmakers it is working on data protection in response to concerns that its Chinese employees were able to access information about its US users.

Social media company sent a letter on Thursday to US senators who acknowledged that employees outside the country can see data about users in the US, confirming reports of such practices. TikTok said in a memo that it is now working with Oracle on more advanced data protection tools, which he hopes to complete in the near future at an unspecified date.

“Employees outside the US, including those based in China, may be able to access TikTok user data in the US subject to a set of strong cybersecurity controls and authorization approval protocols monitored by our US security team,” wrote TikTok CEO Shaw Zee. Chu. memo.

CNBC reported last year that former TikTok employees were concerned about ByteDance’s impact on the popular short video service, noting the risk that Chinese workers could look into US users’ data.

TikTok said it is currently pursuing a major initiative dubbed Project Texas to “completely protect user data and U.S. national security interests.” The company said it now stores all U.S. data in the Oracle cloud by default, echoing comments made in a recent report. Blog Postwhich stated that “100% of US user traffic is routed to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure”.

“This work brings us closer to the day we can transition to a new and industry-leading system for protecting our users’ data in the United States, with robust independent oversight to ensure compliance,” Chu said in the report. memo.

agreement with Oracle was set in 2020, after former President Donald Trump threatened to ban the TikTok app in the US.

Chu said that while ByteDance developed the underlying algorithms behind the app and its Chinese brother Douyin, the bulk of TikTok’s underlying technology infrastructure is “separate from Douyin.”

“Our solution with Oracle ensures that TikTok algorithm learning only happens in Oracle’s cloud infrastructure and also provides appropriate third-party security and algorithm validation,” Chu wrote.

He added that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has not requested the company to access the data of its TikTok users in the US and that the company will not provide that data upon such a request.

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