US user data and China: TikTok appoints new security chief

TikTok is replacing its security chief. The TikTok CEO also announced improved data protection for US user data, which was recently criticized.


TikTok’s Chief Security Officer (CSO), Roland Cloutier, is stepping down from his post this fall. He is to be followed by a previous interim manager for security. Cloutier will only be active in the company as a consultant and will deal with the effects of security on the business. This was announced by the video platform belonging to the Chinese group Bytedance on its website. The change comes as part of the company’s efforts to address growing concerns from US politicians and regulators about the Chinese TikTok owner’s access to US user data.




Cloutier will vacate his post on September 2, the company writes in a statement. He will be succeeded by Kim Albarella, head of Global Security Operations. In the same statement, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew also comments on the debate about the data of US users of the TikTok video app, to which the Chinese parent company Bytedance has access – when this recently became known, US politicians spoke of a “back door”. in data access by China. Shou Zi Chew points to a new approach by the company to allay concerns about the security of US user data.

Part of this strategy is a new department that takes care of the administration of US user data, Shou Zi Chew continues. The company is thus making an important investment in data protection. This also expands the CSO’s area of ​​responsibility, explains the TikTok boss. This statement can be understood to mean that with the change in personnel in the role of CSO, the company also wants to put an end to the previously criticized data protection practice and win back the trust of legislators and regulators in the USA.

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Under former US President Trump, a deal with Oracle was intended to ensure that US users’ TikTok data was only stored in the US. When the TikTok boss recently admitted that China-based employees had access to US user data, it sparked displeasure among US regulators and politicians. Concerned US senators have expressed concerns and fear that this could open a “back door” for the Chinese government.