TikTok says it’ll find a way to protect the data of US-based users

TikTok says it’ll find a way to protect the data of US-based users
FILE PHOTO: The TikTok logo is pictured outside the company’s U.S. head office in Culver City, California, U.S., September 15, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake

You may remember when Oracle and TikTok struck a deal in 2020 to store all of Americans’ TikTok data by default in Oracle’s cloud after US regulators and lawmakers cited national security concerns that the popular Chinese platform, which had infiltrated the hearts and minds of tens of millions of young Americans, had all their accompanying data. Last week, an FCC official said that while the TikTok videos of people dancing were popular, it was “just the sheep’s clothing," a claim that TikTok execs have publicly pushed back against.

Now TikTok has sent a letter to US lawmakers saying it will find a way to protect the data of American users, especially in response to the concern that Chinese employees can access US user data. It said in the letter that it’s now working with Oracle to build on more advanced data security tools to do this.

Key comments:

“The broad goal for Project Texas is to help build trust with users and key stakeholders by improving our systems and controls, but it is also to make substantive progress toward compliance with a final agreement with the U.S. Government that will fully safeguard user data and U.S. national security interests. We have not spoken publicly about these plans out of respect for the confidentiality of the engagement with the U.S. Government, but circumstances now require that we share some of that information publicly to clear up the errors and misconceptions in the article and some ongoing concerns related to other aspects of our business," wrote the letter from TikTok.

“Employees outside the U.S., including China-based employees, can have access to TikTok U.S. user data subject to a series of robust cybersecurity controls and authorization approval protocols overseen by our U.S.-based security team. In addition, TikTok has an internal data classification system and approval process in place that assigns levels of access based on the data’s classification and requires approvals for access to U.S. user data. The level of approval required is based on the sensitivity of the data according to the classification system," wrote TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew.