TikTok’s Dublin data centre is now operational.

TikTok's Dublin data centre is now operational.

TikTok Takes on Privacy Concerns with First European Data Centre

TikTok Data Centre

In a move to address Western concerns about privacy and surveillance, popular social media app TikTok has launched its first European data centre. The Chinese-owned company has begun the process of migrating user information from its global servers to the newly established data centre in Dublin. Additionally, two more centres are currently under construction, one in Norway and another one in Ireland. This strategic move, known as “Project Clover,” aims to localize user data storage for TikTok’s 150 million European users by the end of 2024.

TikTok’s decision to create local data centres in Europe is a direct response to growing fears that user data is being accessed by the Chinese government, allegations which the company vehemently denies. This concern has led to the banning of the app on work-related devices by various institutions, including the EU Commission, the UK Parliament, and the French government.

To further alleviate these concerns and ensure the protection of user data, TikTok has entrusted Project Clover’s oversight to a third-party European cybersecurity firm, NCC Group, based in the UK. NCC Group will conduct audits of TikTok’s data controls and protections, monitor data flows, provide independent verification, and promptly report any incidents. This provides an additional layer of reassurance for users that their data will be safeguarded within a protective environment and can only be accessed by approved employees subject to strict oversight.

By establishing local data centres and engaging the expertise of an independent cybersecurity firm, TikTok demonstrates its commitment to transparency and protecting user privacy. This move not only addresses Western concerns but also allows TikTok to align its operations with regional data protection regulations.

Currently, TikTok’s global user data is scattered across servers located in Singapore, Malaysia, and the US. Migrating this data to the newly established European data centres will provide greater control and security for European user data, ensuring compliance with local regulations and instilling trust among users.

TikTok’s Vice President of Public Policy in Europe, Theo Bertram, stated, “All of these controls and operations are designed to ensure that the data of our European users is safeguarded in a specially-designed protective environment, and can only be accessed by approved employees subject to strict independent oversight and verification.”

This significant step towards localizing user data storage and engaging third-party oversight illustrates TikTok’s commitment to its European user base while addressing concerns over privacy and surveillance. By taking these proactive measures, TikTok aims to foster a positive and secure environment for users to continue enjoying the platform’s engaging content and creative expression. With its expansion of data centres and its partnership with NCC Group, TikTok solidifies its position as a responsible global technology company, focused on protecting user data and maintaining privacy while fostering an entertaining and inclusive community.