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The Chinese parent company of TikTok had access to American users’ data for months even while U.S. employees didn’t have access themselves, in line with leaked audio.
The audio, obtained by BuzzFeed News, covers greater than 80 internal meetings at TikTok between the months of September 2021 and January 2022. It showed that U.S. employees weren’t permitted to access user data and as a substitute relied on Chinese employees to accomplish that, in line with BuzzFeed.
TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is required under Chinese law to share its data with the Chinese Communist Party at any time when requested.
“As we have publicly stated, we have brought in world class internal and external security experts to assist us strengthen our data security efforts. That is standard industry practice given the complexity of knowledge security challenges,” TikTok said in an announcement to Business Insider on Friday.
FILE – This Feb. 25, 2020, file photo, shows the icon for TikTok in Recent York. President Donald Trump will order China’s ByteDance to sell its hit video app TikTok due to national-security concerns, in line with reports published Friday, July 31, 2020. “We’re TikTok,” Trump told reporters Friday on the White House. “We could also be banning TikTok.” (AP Photo/File)
“In May, we created a latest in-house department, U.S. Data Security (USDS), with US-based leadership, to offer a greater level of focus and governance on US data security. The creation of this organization is an element of our ongoing effort and commitment to strengthen our data protection policies and protocols, further protect our users, and construct confidence in our systems and controls,” the statement continued.
The video sharing app has faced heavy scrutiny from U.S. politicians and Republicans particularly for its Chinese roots.
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Former President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning the app from the U.S. in 2020, but President Joe Biden prevented the ban from taking effect soon after entering office.