TikTok’s Head of Cybersecurity is Resigning. What’s the reason?

Despite increased requests from government members to investigate TikTok's links to China, TikTok's senior security officer will resign in September.


This idea of replacing Roland Cloutier as Chief Security Officer was not made because of worries about data privacy, a TikTok representative informed the Wall Street Journal.


What Led Him To Take This Step?


The U.S. government is again looking into the popular video app TikTok after a high-ranking supervisor and a group of politicians raised worries about the service's potential threat to national security.


Following a document signed by nine Republican U.S. legislators, including Roy Blunt of Missouri and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, the corporation answered Friday. As a result of a "backdoor access" revelation, the letter raises worry about the firm.


It was revealed that TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew and the Biden administration are working together to "completely secure user information and U.S. national security concerns" in response to the concerns of the senators from both parties.


Chinese workers may access TikTok U.S. customer data "subject to several sophisticated cybersecurity safeguards and authorized clearance mechanisms monitored by our U.S.-based security team," according to an eight-page letter collected by the New York Times and made public.


However, TikTok aims to "remove U.S. users protected information from our servers and completely pivot to Oracle cloud servers based in the United States." At the same time, it continues to work on data concerns.


Chew said in the letter that "we are aware that we are one of the most investigated platforms from a security viewpoint, and we seek to erase any question regarding the protection of U.S. user data."


This Monday, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, a Republican nominated by former President Trump, announced that he had contacted Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their play store. His reasoning: The software gathers user data that might harm the safety and security of the United States.


To Tim Cook and Sundar Pichai, Carr wrote, "It is not simply an app for posting humorous videos or memes. This is the wolf in sheep's clothes." Google refused to comment on the matter. Seeking comment from The Verge was not returned by Apple.


They were sent after BuzzFeed reported that TikTok's parent business, headquartered in China, had been accessing "non-public data" on American users "repeatedly." According to leaked audio from business meetings, Chinese engineers allegedly discussed having access to U.S. information between September 2021 and January 2022.


ByteDance, the parent organization of TikTok, has been in the news recently due to worries over the company's financial health. In the United States, TikTok highlights several significant problems, including:


What exactly are people worried about when it comes to the TikTok app?


ByteDance, the parent firm of TikTok, may be able to share data on Americans obtained via the application with the Chinese government, which is a worry for some U.S. authorities. They are concerned that this information may be used against Americans. In principle, China might use the data to develop profiles and monitor individuals, track their behavior, and target them specifically. There are high chances that the stolen information may be aggregated and utilized against America.

Disinformation campaigns, for example, might be used to undermine the United States government.


No, this will never happen, says TikTok time and time again.


So what has the U.S. administration done to alleviate concerns?


The Trump administration ordered ByteDance to sell TikTok in 2020, but the deal hasn't yet taken place. Many government-issued cellphones and the military in the United States have been blocked from using the software.


The Biden administration is investigating TikTok security issues. The Council on International Investment is examining these issues in the United States, a collection of government agencies responsible for approving foreign acquisitions of U.S. businesses. As per TikTok's letter, the corporation is already trying to alleviate concerns from the United States authorities.


Is there a danger?


No, I doubt it. Despite a 2020 New York Times piece claiming otherwise, CIA officials said that Chinese intelligence agents might have intercepted TikTok data. As with any social media network that collects user data, such as Facebook during the 2016 and 2020 election cycles, the data might be abused by any third party to generate misinformation campaigns, as we've seen with other networks, such as Twitter.

National security agencies and legislators have long warned about the dangers of allowing Chinese technology businesses to operate in the United States since, by law, Chinese companies operating inside China might be obliged to share data with the communist state. They're not the only ones. The usage of Huawei and ZTE, two Chinese telecom giants, has already been prohibited by the U.S. government. There are fears that China may be able to employ Chinese telecom service providers in the U.S. to spy on American persons or launch cyberwarfare against the United States.


Is there any way to know what information TikTok has?


When you use TikTok, the app records your I.P. address, time spent looking at various things on the app's interface, and other personal data like this. It also gathers device I.D.s so marketers can monitor your interactions with them. Your mobile-based social network connections may be harvested if you permit them. As a result, this application, known as "Tiktok, "gets access to your user-generated material, including movies and photos you upload.


TikTok, like other social media sites, makes use of this data to provide you with relevant content to keep you logged into the app. Tumblr and Facebook both marketing and promotion to make money, so TikTok uses user data to fine-tune its ad campaigns, making them more effective.


According to TikTok's privacy policy, the company does not share or sell user data. The business warns that this data may be stored or processed on servers or centers outside the United States. According to the company, some third-party companies with which it shares data may be situated outside the United States.


TikTok has launched a reassurance campaign for Americans.

An Oracle-hosted cloud service is being used to store all of TikTok's US-based customer data as of June 17. It is used to keep U.S. citizen data in the United States and a backup in Singapore. However, this was no longer the case. According to the company's statement, the private data of U.S. consumers would ultimately be deleted.


Want to Share this Article?

About the author


The writer has a degree in Computer Science with a passion for content writing, my experience spans writing whitepapers, blogs, case studies, research reports, and more.

View More Posts