In a statement last week, TikTok’s head of privacy for Europe, Elaine Fox, explained that its global team, including those working in China, helps to keep the user experience “consistent, enjoyable and safe.”
Fox admitted that while TikTok stores European user data on servers in the United States and Singapore, it does permit employees “within our corporate group” to have “remote access” to European TikTok user data. That “corporate group” includes China.
Fox maintained that TikTok limits the number of employees who can access European user data, minimizes “data flows outside of the region,” and makes efforts to store European user data “locally.”
Fox also said TikTok’s approach conforms with “a series of robust security controls and approval protocols” and its methods are “recognized under the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).”
Concerns over whether user data is being shared with the Chinese government have prompted government officials around the world to examine the app for possible threats to national security and privacy.
Last week, Brendan Carr of the Federal Communications Commission became the latest US official to call for the United States to ban TikTok, arguing that there is no other path forward for the Chinese-based platform.
Carr warned that there is no “world in which you could come up with sufficient protection” of TikTok’s user data and there is no way the US could have “sufficient confidence” that the data is not “finding its way back into the hands” of the Chinese Communist Party.
TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has long maintained that the platform is not controlled by the communist government.