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TikTok clears the air about suspected U.S. user data breach by Chinese workers

The TikTok logo on a white pink and blue background

Chinese firm ByteDance, which owns TikTok, has pacified U.S. users' data safety concerns by declaring Oracle its exclusive storage partner. Earlier, BuzzFeed News had cited fears that ByteDance employees had repeatedly breached the data privacy of U.S. users.

In a video snippet, TikTok chief Roland Cloutier did acknowledge that it gave data access to some engineers as per industry practice, but vouched to change all that in the future. It emphasized that no data was shared with Chinese government officials.

“Our goal is to minimize data access across regions so that, for example, employees in the (Asia Pacific) region, including China, would have very minimal access to user data from the EU and U.S.”, Cloutier wrote in a company blog post.

“We’ve brought in world class internal and external security experts to help us strengthen our data security efforts”, a TikTok spokesperson told AFP.

TikTok has promised to use data centers in Singapore and Virginia to back up information while employing Oracle Cloud Infrastructure for all its users in U.S. Furthermore, it also states that it’s working in tandem with Oracle to develop data management protocols to counter any threats of a data breach. The company hopes that these steps shall once and for all allay any unfounded fears and pacify concerns in this area.

The issue started in the backdrop of former U.S. President Donald Trump's ban on Chinese apps like WeChat and TikTok from the U.S. market, amid growing national security concerns. WeChat is a part of Chinese tech giant Tencent and is used for social networking, messaging, e-commerce, and more.

“We know we are among the most scrutinized platforms from a security standpoint, and we aim to remove any doubt about the security of U.S. user data”, said Albert Calamug, who handles U.S. security public policy at TikTok. “Today, 100% of U.S. user traffic is being routed to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure”, Calamug added.

Source: TikTok via The Guardian

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