TikTok said that data on Australian users are accessible in China, despite previous assurances of “safe” storage in the US and Singapore.
Responding to a letter from a Canberra politician, TikTok admitted its staff in China were able to access Australian users’ data.
“Our security teams minimise the number of people who have access to data and limit it only to people who need that access in order to do their jobs,” the company’s Australian director of public policy, Brent Thomas, wrote to James Paterson, opposition spokesman on cybersecurity.
“We have policies and procedures that limit internal access to Australian user data by our employees, wherever they’re based, based on need,” Thomas added.
TikTok Australia has replied to my letter and admitted that Australian user data is also accessible in mainland China, putting it within reach of the Chinese government, despite their previous assurances it was safe because it was stored in the US and Singapore pic.twitter.com/ITY1HNEo6v
— James Paterson (@SenPaterson) July 12, 2022
Paterson wrote on Twitter that Australian TikTok users deserved to know whether their private information is accessible in China.
Thomas said TikTok has never provided Australian user data to the Chinese government. “We have never been asked for Australian user data by the Chinese government, and we would not provide it if we were asked.”
However, activists have pointed out that it would be difficult for TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance, to resist any demand from Beijing for overseas data.
- George Russell