Recent audio leaks from more than 80 internal meetings reveal that TikTok employees based in China repeatedly accessed U.S. despite company claims to the contrary.
BuzzFeed News reports that audio recordings from more than 80 TikTok internal meetings have been leaked. This reveals that employees based in China of the popular video-sharing app have repeatedly accessed U.S. data. These recordings date between September 2021 to January 2022. They include 14 statements by TikTok employees who met to discuss Project Texas, a classified effort to prevent engineers from China from retrieving U.S. information.
One audio clip features a TikTok director talking about a ByteDance engineer as a Master Admin, who has “access” to all things. TikTok also stated that 100 percent of US user traffic is being routed through Oracle Cloud Infrastructure instead of being hosted in data centers in the U.S. or Singapore.
A TikTok spokesperson stated:
We have publicly stated that we have hired world-class internal and external security specialists to strengthen our data security efforts.
Given the complex nature of data security issues, this is a standard industry practice. We created U.S. Data Security (USDS) in May to give US-based leadership a more focused and unified approach to data security.
This organization was created as part of our ongoing effort to improve our data protection protocols and policies, further protect our users, build trust in our systems, and control our costs.
Trump signed an executive order in August 2020 banning TikTok, and WeChat in the U.S. The ban was based on the belief of the former President that TikTok’s data collection “threatens to allow Chinese Communist Party access American personal and proprietary information.”
President Joe Biden revoked the executive order last year and unbanned the app. Biden called for an “evidence-based analysis to address risks” from internet applications that are controlled by foreign entities.