TikTok says some employees in China may have access to US user data, outlines plan for better security measures

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TikTok says some employees in China may have access to US user data, outlines plan for better security measures Listen to this article

The company said in an open letter that TikTok is working on a plan to better protect the data of its US users. [PDF] Several US senators have raised concerns that the China-based app is a national security risk.

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shared by new York Times, the letter describes a multi-pronged undertaking called “Project Texas” that aims to strengthen data security. TikTok says that 100 percent of US user data is stored in an Oracle cloud environment based in the US, and it is working with Oracle on more advanced data protection controls that will be implemented. Will expire “in the near future”.

TikTok plans to remove US data from its servers and store the information exclusively with Oracle. The company says that all data sharing outside the United States will be carried out in accordance with “protocols and conditions approved by the United States Government”.

The overall goal of the Texas Project is to help build trust with users and key stakeholders by improving our systems and controls, but also to make substantial progress toward meeting the ultimate compromise of security with the interests of the US government. We have not spoken publicly about these plans out of respect for the confidentiality of our engagement with the US government, but circumstances now require us to publicly share some of that information to prevent errors and inaccuracies in the article. assumptions and some existing concerns to be addressed. other aspects of our business.

Concerns about Tiktok have increased in the last two weeks One Buzzfeed News report good Which suggested that TikTok engineers in China had access to US user data between September 2021 and January 2022. “Everything is seen in China,” said a TikTok employee in a recording reviewed by BuzzFeed, and the recording also refers to an engineer “senior manager”. , China has “access to everything”.

Given concerns about access to US data, the US Federal Communications Commission earlier this week asked Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their App Store due to a “pattern of privacy practices”.

TikTok confirmed in its letter that US TikTok user data may be accessed by certain China-based employees, “subject to a series of robust cybersecurity controls” under the supervision of a China-based security team. US TikTok says it has an internal data classification system and approval process that assigns access levels based on data sensitivity. Going forward, Biden will work with the administration to continue limiting access to the data.

Responding to a question as to why TikTok does not plan to block all US user data of employees in China, TikTok said, “Some employees based in China have a limited and non-sensitive set of U.S. users. will have access to the TikTok user data pool” in order to ensure global interoperability. Employees will also be able to develop a TikTok video recommendation algorithm using US data, although training in the algorithm will be limited to Oracle Server.

TikTok has promised that access will be “very limited” and will not include “private TikTok US user information”. TikTok says it has not been asked to provide the data to the Chinese government and will not provide the data if the CCP requests the information.

Apple and Google have yet to respond to the FCC’s request to remove the TikTok app from their App Store.

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