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China-owned TikTok denies it may use location data to trace U.S. customers


TikTok, owned by Beijing-based tech big ByteDance, is utilized by greater than 1 billion individuals worldwide each month.

Artur Widak | Nurphoto | stunning photos

On Friday, TikTok denied it used location-specific knowledge to trace sure people in the USA, countering a Forbes report alleging the Chinese language-owned video app was plotting plan to hold out such monitoring.

On Thursday, Forbes revealed an article alleging that TikTok, owned by Chinese language firm ByteDance, deliberate to make use of its app to “monitor the private places of sure US residents specifically doable”, citing revealed paperwork.

Different allegations embrace:

  • Oversight is carried out by the Inside Audit and Danger Management departments of ByteDance, TikTok’s guardian firm, whose management experiences on to the CEO.
  • The division primarily conducts investigations into worker misconduct but in addition plans to gather location knowledge on a US citizen who has by no means labored on the firm.

The Forbes article additionally says that it is unclear whether or not any knowledge was really collected.

TikTok hit again on the article in a sequence of tweets claiming it lacked “each the seriousness and integrity of journalism.”

TikTok stated Forbes “elected to not embrace the a part of our assertion that refutes the viability of its core allegation: TikTok doesn’t accumulate correct GPS location data from US customers, which implies TikTok can not monitor US customers in the best way the article suggests.”

TikTok added that its app has by no means been used to “goal” any members of the US authorities, activists, public figures or journalists.

“We’re assured in our sourcing and we stand by our report,” a Forbes spokesperson stated.

John Paczkowski, govt editor for expertise and innovation at Forbes, stated Friday that TikTok and ByteDance “haven’t denied any claims within the story.”

TikTok has had a number of years of testing within the US since former President Donald Trump ordered the app to divest its US enterprise, claiming it threatened nationwide safety. Washington is worried that knowledge collected on US residents by TikTok may fall into the fingers of the Chinese language authorities.

In July, TiKTok CEO Shou Zi Chew acknowledged that “staff exterior the US, together with staff in China, could have entry to US TikTok consumer knowledge relying on a a sequence of sturdy cybersecurity controls and authorization approval protocols overseen by our US-based safety workforce.”

Nevertheless, the corporate stated on the time that it was engaged on a significant initiative referred to as Mission Texas, which goals to “utterly shield consumer knowledge and the nationwide safety pursuits of the USA.” This consists of storing all US knowledge by default within the Oracle cloud.


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