TikTok executives have begun meeting with European politicians to assure them that the company is securing data—following concerns of Chinese government access.
- Speaking with British officials in London on Monday, TikTok executives assured members of a U.K. briefing that the company is taking special measures to address U.S. and EU concerns that the Chinese-owned app is drawing sensitive Western data.
- TikTok is currently in the process of rolling out Project Clover and Project Texas, proposals for hiring third-party operators and data centers that safeguard U.S. and European data on local servers—respectively in Ireland and Texas. The latter project is expected to cost $1.5 billion.
- Attendees of the briefings noted that the company made significant efforts to appear transparent on concerning issues, but ultimately weren’t assured that the company is in a position to turn down access from members of the Chinese Communist Party, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Why It’s News
This executive tour comes in the aftermath of months of scrutiny from western governments, alleging that officials working for the Chinese government have direct access to TikTok’s parent company ByteDance and the data the app accumulates. The Canadian government banned the use of the video app on government devices last week, following other governments taking similar measures to avoid data breaches.
As we previously reported, Tik Tok is particularly aggressive in its data-harvesting practices compared to most available apps. Malcore, a malware analysis tool website, says that TikTok pulls twice as much data as other prominent social media apps, including internet network information, SIM serial numbers, device serial numbers, phone numbers, GPS location, subscription information, and password managers.
TikTok is one of the world’s most popular video apps, with nearly 1.6 billion downloads. Its parent company is willing to spend billions of dollars securing data to protect its investment in one of the world’s most successful social media apps, but continued calls to ban the app in the U.S. could prevail if data-securing efforts fail to please western politicians.