Controversy over data protection | TikTok is reorganizing a division in the US

(San Francisco) TikTok’s chief of security will leave his post in September, as it reorganizes the division that has faced a long-running debate over protecting US users’ data.

Posted on July 15

“It’s time to change my league […] becoming a strategic advisor, focusing primarily on the commercial impact of security and trust programs,” Quebecer Roland Cloutier said in a memo issued internally on Friday and then published by the company.

TikTok, which belongs to the Chinese group ByteDance, confirmed that this change was not related to the latest political upheaval, but to a reorganization of the service.

Xu Ziqiu, group president, and Dingkun Hong, vice president of technology at ByteDance, said at another in-house company that posted the memo online.

“It is a major investment in data protection, and it is also changing the role of civil society organizations. With this in mind, Roland has decided to leave his position to participate in day-to-day operations,” they added.

In mid-June, the social network had to confirm, as a BuzzFeed article pointed out, that employees based in China had access to data about US users of the platform.

The news came months after many US politicians feared that the popular app could provide personal information to the Chinese government.

Two weeks ago, the social network sent a letter to nine Republican senators to reiterate that the Chinese Communist Party “has not asked them to share this data.”

TikTok insisted, “We have not passed any US user information to CCP and will not do so if asked.”

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The platform had already announced in June that all data from those users would now be stored on Oracle Group servers in the US, and no longer in its data centers in Virginia and Singapore.

It is subject to review by the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS), an agency that assesses the risks of any foreign investment to the national security of the United States.

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