TikTok launches Project Clover to allay China security fears

TikTok launches Project Clover to allay China security fears

TikTok has implemented security measures to alleviate concerns that it may be compelled to share user information with China. Project Clover will entail a separate security company that will “monitor data flows,” while TikTok will make it more difficult to identify individual users in data.

According to the company, “security gateways” will add an additional layer of control over employee access to European user information and data transfers outside of Europe.

The European Commission has banned the ByteDance-owned app from staff devices. As part of its current effort to store European user data locally, TikTok revealed plans for two new data centers in Dublin, costing a total of €1.2bn (£1.1bn) every year,

in addition to one already announced, and the Hamar region of Norway. Both will be renewably powered and operated by third parties.

Since last year, the company has been working on Project Clover, which aims to convince European lawmakers that TikTok is safe. Theo Bertram, TikTok’s vice-president of government relations and public policy in Europe, stated that the company is ahead of the curve and needs to earn trust.

TikTok executives have repeatedly stated that they are going further than other major social networks to protect user privacy. They unveiled Project Clover to the press, announcing sweeping privacy changes with an open Q and A.

However, TikTok’s future will remain in jeopardy unless the US is convinced, and the US seems firmly set on taking action against the app. Over 100 million Americans use the viral-video app, but the Canadian and US governments have also restricted its use on official devices.

TikTok has said such bans are “misguided and do nothing to further privacy or security.” China strongly opposes the action.

US President Joe Biden has lent his administration’s support to a bill granting powers to ban foreign-owned technology. TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will appear before Congress later this month.

TikTok fears becoming a “pawn” in diplomatic tensions between the US and China. According to TikTok’s US head of public policy Michael Beckerman, “Almost all the major tech companies also have engineers in China,” and TikTok was not the only one to gather significant amounts of user data.

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