TikTok to Comply With US Law, Protect User Data From China

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TikTok and its parent company ByteDance will continue to safeguard US user data from China, Erich Andersen, general counsel for TikTok has confrimed.

ByteDance is developing technologies “to make it physically impossible for any government, including the Chinese government, to access US user data,” Andersen made the claims in an interview with The Associated Press (AP) on Friday.

The attorney also highlighted ByteDance’s intentions to make Lemon8, a photo- and video-sharing app released in China in 2020 and currently being tested in the US, just as secure.

 “We’re obviously going to do our best with the Lemon8 app to comply with US law and to make sure we do the right thing here. But I think we [have] got a long way to go with that application — it’s pretty much a startup phase.”

Andersen’s claims come almost a year after TikTok CEO, Shou Zi Chew, first discussed Project Texas, a program intended to strengthen the company’s data security posture in the US.

Read more on Project Texas here: TikTok CEO Addresses US Security Concern

Since then, TikTok has undergone a slew of bans on government devices in several countries, with many legislators and governments not believing the company’s intentions of safeguarding user data from the Chinese government.

Zi Chew also spoke at a congressional hearing last week, confirming ByteDance will delete all historical US user data from non-Oracle servers by the end of the year.

“We’re investing in a system where people don’t have to believe the Chinese government, and they don’t have to believe us,” Andersen told AP, defending Zi Chew’s views. “Where are we falling short here? At some point, you get beyond the cybersecurity risk assessment, etcetera, and you get to ‘We don't like your nationality.’”

TikTok is barred only on governmental devices in the US, but the ban could extend to other devices, primarily throughout the so-called RESTRICT Act.

Editorial image credit: Matteo Benegiamo / Shutterstock.com

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