TikTok has launched security measures to allay concerns it could be made to share user data with China. Project Clover will see a separate security company “monitor data flows” – and TikTok will make it harder to identify individual users in data.
“Security gateways” will add an extra layer of control over employee access to European user information and data transfers outside of Europe, it says.
The European Commission has banned the ByteDance-owned app from staff devices.
As part of its current effort to store European user data locally, TikTok revealed plans for two new data centres, costing a total of €1.2bn (£1.1bn) every year, in Dublin, in addition to one already announced, and the Hamar region of Norway.
Both will be renewably powered and operated by third parties.
The company has been working on Project Clover since last year.
“We’re ahead of the curve on this because we have to be – because we need to earn trust,” TikTok vice-president of government relations and public policy in Europe Theo Bertram said.
Its back against the wall, TikTok is fighting hard to prove it is no national-security threat.
Executives unveiling Project Clover repeatedly said they were going further than other major social networks to protect user privacy.
And I can’t think of a time when a Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat held a press conference announcing sweeping privacy changes, with an open Q and A.
But will it be enough to save the platform?
Chinese telecoms giant Huawei bent over backwards to convince governments it could be trusted.
It spent a fortune setting up a transparency centre in Oxfordshire, where for years UK cyber chiefs poured over source code looking for signs of Chinese government interference.
None was found – but US-led theoretical concerns about spying still saw Huawei banned from the UK’s 5G networks.
Project Clover aims to convince European lawmakers TikTok is safe.
But history tells us TikTok’s future will remain in jeopardy unless the US is convinced – and at the moment, the US seems firmly set on taking action against the app.