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Delete Your TikTok App: China is Watching, Listening, and Lying About Security.

They’ve Moved Servers to the U.S. —But Retain Backups in China.


Photo for: Delete Your TikTok App: China is Watching, Listening, and Lying About Security.

Allow me to quote 1984…’s one hit wonder Rockwell (and, yes —we know Michael Jackson sang the hook, so hold your emails):

I always feel like somebody’s watchin’ me
And I have no privacy
I always feel like somebody’s watchin’ me
Is it just a dream?

It’s certainly not “just a dream” —turns out, China is watching. Reports from Business Insider and BuzzFeed News tell us that U.S. TikTok data has been repeatedly accessed by China-based employees from the platform’s Chinese parent company ByteDance, according to audio from over 80 internal TikTok meetings obtained by BuzzFeed.

But now China is saying ‘don’t worry, we’ve moved U.S. data to Oracle servers in the U.S. —feel better now?’ Here’s a TikTok spox spinning like Diana Vishneva at the Bolshoi.

“As we’ve publicly stated, we’ve brought in world class internal and external security experts to help us strengthen our data security efforts. This is standard industry practice given the complexity of data security challenges. In May, we created a new in-house department, U.S. Data Security (USDS), with US-based leadership, to provide a greater level of focus and governance on US data security. The creation of this organization is part of our ongoing effort and commitment to strengthen our data protection policies and protocols, further protect our users, and build confidence in our systems and controls.”

Ah, okay…a U.S. Data Security department —so China is out of the picture, correct? Not exactly.

“TikTok, the Chinese-owned video app, said…that it was moving all of the data produced by its American users through servers controlled by Oracle, the Silicon Valley company, in a bid to convince the U.S. government that it will not expose the personal information of Americans to the Chinese government,” the New York Times reports.

But there is a very. big. catch.

“TikTok added that it would still store its own backups of that information, potentially complicating those efforts.”

The New York Times continues: “…ByteDance said in a blog post that it expected to eventually delete American users’ ‘private data from our own data centers and fully pivot to Oracle cloud servers located’ in the United States. It did not say when that would take place.”

Of course, they didn’t say when. And we’d be surprised if it ever comes to fruition.

Last year, The Drill Down reported on China’s propensity for gathering information on Americans —and the dangerous position it puts us in.

“During a recent Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, former deputy national security advisor Matthew Pottinger shared serious concerns about the treasure trove of data China has stolen in recent cyberattacks. Pottinger says China has enough data to “influence and intimidate, reward and blackmail, flatter and humiliate, divide and conquer” nearly all American citizens.

Delete TikTok.