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TikTok will use Oracle services to store and secure US user data

TikTok said on Friday that Oracle would store all of its US users’ data, in a bid to allay fears about its safety in the hands of a ByteDance-owned platform in China.

The announcement came as the popular video snippet-sharing service brushed off concerns about the ability of engineers in China to access information about US users that is not public.

ByteDance employees repeatedly accessed information about US TikTok users, according to a Buzzfeed report citing leaked audio from internal TikTok meetings.

It is common for some engineers at internet companies to be granted access to data, and TikTok told AFP it tries to minimize this kind of system privilege.

“Similar to our industry peers, we will continue to pursue our goal of limiting the number of employees with access to user data and the scenarios in which data access is enabled,” said Roland Cloutier, Head of TikTok’s information security, in a blog post highlighted by the company.

“Our goal is to minimize access to data between regions so that, for example, employees of the [Asia-Pacific] region, including China, would have very minimal access to EU and US user data. »

TikTok has been adamant that it has never provided US user data to Chinese authorities and would refuse if asked to do so.

Last month, TikTok created a new US data security dedicated to strengthening protection policies and protocols to safeguard user information, a TikTok spokesperson told AFP.

“We have brought in world-class internal and external security experts to help us bolster our data security efforts,” the spokesperson said.

TikTok will continue to use its own data centers in Virginia and Singapore to back up information as it strives to “fully pivot” to relying on Oracle in the United States, it said in a statement. article.

“We know that we are among the most scrutinized platforms from a security perspective, and we aim to remove any doubt about the security of American users’ data,” said Albert Calamug, who manages American public security policy. at TikTok.

Last year, President Joe Biden revoked his predecessor Donald Trump’s executive orders to ban Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat from US markets on national security grounds.

Mr Trump had given his blessing to a plan that would have given TikTok to US tech giant Oracle with investments from distribution powerhouse Walmart, but that deal was not approved in Beijing.

Mr. Biden’s new executive order reversed the unenforced ban and called for “evidence-based analysis to address the risks” of internet apps controlled by foreign entities.

WeChat, part of Chinese tech giant Tencent, is a “super app” that includes social media, messaging, e-commerce and more.

TikTok revealed late last year that it had one billion users worldwide.

“Today, 100% of US user traffic is routed to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure,” Calamug said.

“Additionally, we are working closely with Oracle to develop data management protocols that Oracle will audit and manage to give users even more peace of mind.”

Updated: June 18, 2022, 1:05 p.m.

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