'Everything Is Seen In China': US TikTok Users' Private Data Repeatedly Accessed From China, Says Report
ByteDance employees in China have repeatedly accessed private information about US TikTok users, Buzzfeed News reported citing leaked audio from TikTok in-house meetings.
Chinese tech giant ByteDance is the parent company of TikTok, which was banned in India in 2020 over national security concerns.
According to recordings reviewed by BuzzFeed News, over a dozen separate statements from nine different TikTok employees showed that engineers in China had access to US data from at least September 2021 through January 2022, at the very least.
"Despite a TikTok executive’s sworn testimony in an October 2021 Senate hearing that a “world-renowned, US-based security team” decides who gets access to this data, nine statements by eight different employees describe situations where US employees had to turn to their colleagues in China to determine how US user data was flowing," the report said.
TikTok's US staff did not have "permission or knowledge of how to access the data on their own", the report said.
In a September 2021 meeting, one member of TikTok’s Trust and Safety department reportedly said that "everything is seen in China".
Reportedly, there's even one Beijing-based engineer who "has access to everything", and was referred to as "Master Admin."
The report raises questions over the safety of TikTok's users data despite the claims made by the video-sharing platform that it would never share US users data with the Chinese government.
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