TikTok unveils new European data security regime Project Clover
The European Parliament, European Commission and the EU Council recently banned TikTok from staff phones due to growing concerns about the company, which is owned by Chinese firm ByteDance, and whether China’s government could harvest users’ data or advance its interests.
Meanwhile, the White House has backed legislation granting the administration new powers to ban Chinese-owned video app TikTok and other foreign-based technologies if they pose national security threats.
At a news briefing on Wednesday, TikTok said it would begin storing European user data locally this year, with migration continuing into 2024.
As part of this move, the company confirmed it would soon open a second data centre in Ireland, and another in the Hamar region of Norway. These data centres will be operated by an undisclosed third party.
“We are a pro-compliance company. Tell us what the problems are, and then let’s work together on the solutions. That’s been our approach in the US, that’s been our approach everywhere,” said Theo Bertram, vice president of government relations and public policy.
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“Our approach is very much open to governments, regulators, and experts to give us their counsel and advice on how we can do this even more effectively.” The company said it would reduce the transfer of data outside of the region, and reduce employee access to user data internally.
TikTok has engaged a similar strategy in the US, nicknamed “Project Texas”, in an attempt to placate hostile lawmakers.
White House Bill
The legislation introduced in the White House will give new powers to ban Chinese-owned video app TikTok and other foreign-based technologies if they pose national security threats.
The Bill would give the Commerce Department the ability impose restrictions up to and including banning TikTok and other technologies that pose national security risks, said Democratic Senator Mark Warner, who chairs the Intelligence Committee. It would also apply to foreign technologies from China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and Cuba, he said.
The Bill would require commerce secretary Gina Raimondo to identify and address foreign threats to information and communications technology products and services. Raimondo’s office declined to comment.
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