TikTok has updated its privacy policies, saying some of its employees based in China can access personal data of European users.
According to an official statement, TikTok staff may view European user data to ensure a “consistent, enjoyable, and safe” experience on the platform. The confirmation comes amid high political and regulatory scrutiny TikTok has been facing in the UK and US over concerns it might be transferring personal data of millions of international users to China.
“Based on a demonstrated need to do their job, subject to a series of robust security controls and approval protocols, and by way of methods that are recognised under the GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation], we allow certain employees within our corporate group located in Brazil, Canada, China, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States remote access to TikTok European user data,” said Elaine Fox, TikTok’s head of privacy in Europe.
TikTok’s security include system access controls, encryption and network security.
“In order to operate a global platform designed for sharing joyful content, we rely on a global workforce to ensure that our community’s TikTok experience is consistent, enjoyable and safe,” said Fox. The statement added TikTok does not collect “precise location information” from users in Europe, whether based on GPS technology or otherwise.
TikTok’s data-sharing practices have been the subject of scrutiny and debate in the US. Policymakers are showing concerns that TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, could be pressured by the Chinese government to hand over data of millions of US users.