October 4, 2022

Update: Jul 2, 2022 at 3:18pm EST This article has been updated to reflect new information confirming suspicions about China’s access to US user data.

Despite repeated assurances that TikTok’s parent company, China-based ByteDance, does not verify data collected about users in the US, it appears that the company does and can.

On July 1, TikTok confirmed that employees based in China are able to access US user data through “approval protocols”. according to The New York TimesIn a letter to nine Republican senators, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew provided details of how it plans to keep data about its US users separate from ByteDance, the Chinese parent company. In that letter, he noted that ByteDance employees in China were only able to access TikTok data by “submitting a series of robust cybersecurity controls and authorization approval protocols overseen by our security team in the United States.” “We know we are among the most audited platforms from a security standpoint, and we aim to remove any doubt about the security of US user data,” Chiu added.

The nine Republican senators write to TikTok with questions about its practices after June 17 from BuzzFeed News where Recording review It contained more than a dozen separate statements from nine different TikTok employees and showed that engineers in China had access to US data from at least September 2021 through January 2022. A member of TikTok’s trust and safety department said, in September 2021, that “everything It appears in China,” according to BuzzFeed News. Apparently, there is an engineer based in Beijing who “has access to everything” – they call him a “chief manager”.

This means that former President Donald Trump may have been correct in his assessment of the app when he said in an August 2020 executive order that “TikTok data collection threatens to allow ‘China’ access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information.” tik tok frequently He said it didn’t happen US user data will never be shared with the Chinese government.

In response to the BuzzFeed News investigation, a TikTok spokesperson said the app is “among the most vetted platforms from a security standpoint” and that it plans to “remove any doubt about the security of US user data”.

TikTok has already come under fire for its data collection, and this is just another step in another app that collects information about its users and does what it pleases. Getting online in 2022 seems to be getting more and more difficult while maintaining some semblance of privacy and data independence.

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