ByteDance's Global Chief Security Officer Says That The Chinese Government Cannot Get Hold Of TikTok Users Data Since its Servers Are Based In The United States

According to the head of security at Beijing-based ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, the Chinese government cannot get their hands on user data from the TikTok app. On the other hand, US President Donald Trump believes that TikTok could make user data accessible to the Chinese government.

During an interview, Roland Cloutier, the global chief security officer at ByteDance, told Cyberscoop that any request from the Chinese government for TikTok user data would go through the United States government because the servers of TikTok are based in the United States. Although this interview was conducted on August 20 of this month, it was published on Thursday. Cloutier added that TikTok’s application does not even exist in China. This reflects that the Chinese government has no jurisdiction over the TikTok app.

ByteDance global chief security officer explained that the company has very specific processes when government or law enforcement agencies were to ask the company for data requests. And because the servers of TikTok are based in the United States, it would have to go through the United States government, Roland Cloutier said. TikTok has also repeatedly stated that all of its user data is stored on servers in the United States, while backups are stored on servers in Singapore.

Roland Cloutier also said that the company simply does not share data with governments including the Chinese government. The Donald Trump administration claims that the Chinese ownership of the popular TikTok app makes the video-sharing platform a national security threat. According to the Trump administration, the Chinese government could compel the short-video-sharing app to hand over US user data and could use the data to spy on United States citizens.

TikTok receives requests from governments for information like any other social media site, for instance, governments might request for information as part of police investigation. However, ByteDance global chief security officer claims that TikTok has never received a request for user data from the Chinese government. ByteDance operates a similar app in China. The app is called Douyin, and Cloutier told Cyberscoop in a statement that Douyin and TikTok operate separately on different servers.

Donald Trump has recently signed two executive orders threatening to ban TikTok in the United States unless a US company acquires the US operations of TikTok. In response, TikTok filed a lawsuit against the executive order saying that the United States government did not allow TikTok to respond to national security concerns cited as the reason for the potential ban on TikTok in the US.

Read next: TikTok is on the verge of selling its US, Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian operations soon for a valuation of $20 to $30 billion range
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