May 28, 2024
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TikTok: Staff can access UK and EU user data

TikTok has told its users that some of its employees in China have access to users data in the UK and EU.

The social media giant said its “privacy policy” was “based on a proven need to do their job.”

Authorities worldwide, like the UK and the US, are looking into it. They are worried that information could be sent to the Chinese government.

This week, a US official wants the app banned in the United States.

TikTok said the policy applies to “the European Economic Area, the UK and Switzerland.”

Elaine Fox, the platform’s head of privacy, said that a global team helped keep user experience “consistent, enjoyable, and safe.”

Even though TikTok stores European user data in the US and Singapore, Ms. Fox said. “We give certain employees in our corporate group in Brazil, Canada, China, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea. And the US remote access to TikTok European user data.”

She also said that the company is trying to limit the number of employees who can see data about European users. So, keeping data from leaving the region as little as possible and storing data about European users in Europe.

She also said that the approach was “subject to a series of robust security controls and approval protocols. And by using methods recognized by the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).”

TikTok has been under scrutiny for long

In the same week, a top official at the US agency that keeps an eye on communications said that TikTok should be illegal in the US.

He also said that he didn’t think there was a world in which you could come up with enough protection. On the data that you could be confident that it’s not getting back into the hands of the [Chinese Communist Party].

TikTok’s owner, ByteDance, has repeatedly denied that the Chinese government controls it.

Authorities in the UK, the EU, and the US have closely observed and examined the app for evidence of wrongdoing.

The UK Parliament shut down its TikTok account because MPs were worried that data could be sent to the Chinese government.

Senior MPs and peers wanted the account to be taken down until TikTok gave “credible assurances” that Beijing couldn’t get any information.

The Irish Data Protection Commission has also looked into the app, which is its main regulator in the EU, because of two privacy issues.

The watchdog is looking into how TikTok handles children’s personal information. And whether it has followed EU rules when sending personal information to places like China.

US national security worries

In 2020, a US national security panel told ByteDance to sell its American business. The US was concerned TikTok would give Chinese authorities user information.

In June of this year, TikTok said that it moved the information of its US users to servers in Austin, Texas. American software company Oracle runs and control the data centers.

Last month, TikTok denied a report that a team at ByteDance in China planned to use the app to track where US citizens were.

TikTok said that it had never targeted the American government, activists, public figures, or journalists.

Read Also: TikTok denies accusation that it tracks U.S. citizen 

On Wednesday, Ms. Fox also said that the app doesn’t track European users’ locations.

TikTok is the fastest-growing social media app globally, and almost 4 billion people have downloaded it.

Since its release in 2017, it has made more than $6.2 billion in gross revenue from in-app purchases, according to Sensor Tower.


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