TikTok seeks to reassure US lawmakers on information safety

TikTok seeks to reassure US lawmakers on information safety
TikTok seeks to reassure US lawmakers on data security

In a letter to US senators, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew says the corporate is working with US IT agency Oracle on ‘new superior information safety controls’

Chinese language-owned social media web site TikTok advised US senators it was engaged on a remaining settlement with the Biden Administration that might “absolutely safeguard consumer information and US nationwide safety pursuits,” in keeping with a TikTok letter seen Friday by Reuters.

The letter dated Thursday got here in response to questions raised in a June 27 letter by just a few senators together with Republicans Marsha Blackburn and Ted Cruz, TikTok stated.

TikTok, owned by Chinese language expertise conglomerate ByteDance, is among the world’s hottest social media apps, with greater than 1 billion lively customers globally. It counts the US as its largest market.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew advised senators in the letter the quick video app was working with Oracle Corp on “new superior information safety controls that we hope to finalize within the close to future.”

Final month, TikTok stated it had accomplished migrating US customers’ info to servers at Oracle however it was nonetheless utilizing US and Singapore information facilities for backup.

TikTok’s letter acknowledged that China-based workers “can have entry to TikTok US consumer information topic to a sequence of strong cybersecurity controls and authorization approval protocols overseen by our US-based safety workforce.”

TikTok stated it anticipated “to delete US customers’ protected information from our personal methods and absolutely pivot to Oracle cloud servers positioned within the US.”

TikTok has despatched a response to the senators’ letter, an organization spokesperson stated in an announcement to Reuters. “We stay up for connecting with members of Congress to debate the substance of our letter.”

TikTok is working to construct US-based engineering capability to additional cut back the necessity for information entry throughout areas, the spokesperson added.

Senator Blackburn, of Tennessee, stated TikTok “ought to have come clear from the beginning however as a substitute tried to shroud their work in secrecy.” She stated TikTok must “come again and testify earlier than Congress.”

The TikTok letter got here almost two years after a US nationwide safety panel ordered ByteDance to divest TikTok due to fears that US consumer information could possibly be handed on to China’s communist authorities.

That order was not enforced after Joe Biden succeeded Donald Trump as US president final yr. The panel, nonetheless, often called the Committee on Overseas Funding in the US (CFIUS), continues to be conducting a nationwide safety evaluate of the corporate, in keeping with the letter.

“We all know we’re among the many most scrutinized platforms from a safety standpoint and we intention to take away any doubt in regards to the safety of US consumer information,” the letter stated.

TikTok has stated prior to now that workers in China have information entry to US consumer information. In a 2020 blogpost Roland Cloutier, TikTok’s chief info safety officer, stated, “Our purpose is to attenuate information entry throughout areas in order that, for instance, workers within the APAC area, together with China, would have very minimal entry to consumer information from the EU and US.”

A BuzzFeed story in June confirmed ByteDance engineers in China had entry to US information between September 2021 and January 2022.

Shared algorithms

The letter additionally stated “ByteDance developed the algorithms for each Douyin and TikTok, and subsequently a number of the identical underlying fundamental expertise constructing blocks are utilized by each merchandise.” TikTok is called Douyin in China.

However TikTok’s enterprise logic, algorithm, integration and deployment of methods is restricted to the TikTok utility and separate from Douyin, the letter stated.

Reuters beforehand reported that whereas the code for the app, which determines the appear and feel of TikTok, has been separated from Douyin, the server code was nonetheless partially shared throughout different ByteDance merchandise. The server code supplies fundamental performance of the apps reminiscent of information storage, algorithms for moderating and recommending content material and the administration of consumer profiles. 

The Chinese language authorities took a stake and a board seat in a key ByteDance entity in 2021. 

TikTok defined in its letter to the senators that its acquisition of 1% of Beijing Douyin Data Service Ltd was essential to acquire a information license in China. – Rappler.com

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