TikTok announced Friday that it has moved its data on users located in the United States to Oracle’s cloud platform, an attempt to assuage concerns about Chinese government access to American data.
Backups of U.S. user data will be stored in TikTok’s own servers in Virginia and Singapore for the time being before ultimately being deleted in the switch to Oracle’s platform.
“These are critical steps, but there is more we can do,” the platform said in a blog post.
“We know we are among the most scrutinized platforms from a security standpoint, and we aim to remove any doubt about the security of US user data.”
TikTok, whose parent company ByteDance is headquartered in Beijing, has maintained that American data has been siloed off from access by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
But new reporting from BuzzFeed News based on dozens of internal meetings contradicts that position.
Employees of ByteDance based in China have frequently accessed private data on U.S. users, the reporting found, giving credence to security concerns.
Given the CCP’s rules allowing it to force any company to turn over data under broad national security powers, U.S. user data could theoretically be obtained by Beijing if it were first pulled by employees based in the country.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said in a statement Friday that she may attempt to compel TikTok to testify before Congress.
“This should be a wake up call for anyone who believes Americans deserve online privacy and data security protections,” she said. “Big Tech must be exposed for how it sends Americans’ data to China.”
Author: Chris Mills Rodrigo