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TikTok staff can access UK and EU user data

TikTok has told its users that some of its employees in China have access to users’ data in the United Kingdom and EU.

The social media giant said its “privacy policy” was “based on a proven need to do their job.”

Authorities like the UK and the US are looking into the situation. They are concerned that the Chinese government would have access to the data.

An official in the US said this week that the app should be banned in the United States.

TikTok says the rule is for “the European Economic Area, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland.”

Elaine Fox, the head of privacy for Europe, said on Wednesday that a global team helped retain the user experience.

Even though TikTok stores European user data in the US and Singapore, Ms. Fox said, “We give some employees in our corporate group in Brazil, Canada, China, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and the US remote access to TikTok European user data.”

She added that the company is trying to limit how many employees can see information about users in Europe. She said it should store as little data as possible about European users.

Ms. Fox also said that the plan was “subject to a series of robust security controls and approval protocols, and by using methods recognized by the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).”

TikTok is under the microscopic lens

In the same week, a top official at the US agency in charge of keeping an eye on communications said that TikTok should be illegal in the US.

He also said that he didn’t think there was “any way to protect the data enough so that you could be sure it wouldn’t get back into the hands of the [Chinese Communist Party].” ByteDance, denied that the Chinese government runs it.

Authorities in the UK, the EU, and the US have looked at the app very closely.

In August, the UK Parliament closed its TikTok account because MPs were worried that information could be sent to the Chinese government.

Senior MPs and peers wanted the account shut down until TikTok gave “credible assurances” that Beijing couldn’t get any information.

Because of two privacy issues, the Irish Data Protection Commission, the app’s primary regulator in the EU, has also looked into it.

The watchdog is looking into how TikTok handles children’s personal information. And whether it has followed EU rules when sending personal information to places like China.

In 2020, a US national security panel told ByteDance to sell its American business. Due to worry that Chinese authorities might be given user data.

In June of this year, TikTok announced that it had moved the information of its US users to servers run by the American software company Oracle in Austin, Texas.

US national security concern

Last month, TikTok denied that a team at ByteDance in China planned to use the app to track US citizens.

TikTok said it had never “targeted” the American government, activists, public figures, or journalists.

Ms. Fox also said on Wednesday that the app doesn’t track where European users are.

Read Also: TikTok denies U.S. citizens’ tracking report

TikTok is a social media app growing the fastest worldwide, and almost 4 billion people have already downloaded it.

Sensor Tower, an analytics company, says TokTok has made more than $6.2 billion in gross sales from in-app purchases.