In a testimony before Congress, TikTok's CEO will boast data security initiatives.
The testimony of Chief Executive Shou Zi Chew before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Thursday may determine the future of the well-known social media app TikTok in the United States.
In the midst of fresh efforts to restrict the app in the United States over worries that its Beijing-based parent company ByteDance may be forced to disclose data on US users with Chinese authorities, Chew will make his first appearance before Congress. ByteDance recently received an ultimatum from the Biden administration: sell TikTok or risk a statewide ban.
Chew's testimony, which was made public by the House committee ahead of the hearing, would be mostly devoted to the company's attempts to protect the data of American users. According to his testimony, Chew would go into great depth on "Project Texas," a TikTok project "dedicated to safeguarding both U.S. user data and U.S. national security interests."
According to Chew, the effort has cost TikTok over $1.5 billion so far and involved the creation of a subsidiary called TikTok U.S. Data Security (TSDS), which currently employs close to 1,500 people full-time. It is made to adhere to requirements that are usually only expected of defense contractors.
Since January, according to Chew, USDS has managed all access to systems that include new, protected data from U.S. users. The business is collaborating with Oracle to keep user data from U.S. users, and earlier this month it started erasing previous protected user data from U.S. users kept on non-Oracle servers. Chew predicts that the deletion will be finished this year.
According to his testimony, after that procedure is over, "when that process is complete, all protected U.S. data will be under the protection of U.S. law and under the control of the U.S.-led security team. Under this structure, there is no way for the Chinese government to access it or compel access to it."
According to Chew, project activities include having third-party monitors and auditors who have been authorized by the US government permit data access among USDS employees. An independent board that has been approved by the government would oversee the subsidiary's employees.
It remains to be seen if the attempts will be effective in swaying lawmakers away from TikTok. With the app being used by more than 150 million Americans and being particularly well-liked by younger users, politics are obviously a factor. Chew's testimony is a bet on whether the corporation can turn the tide of the criticism it has endured for years.
He will say, "We continue to believe that imposing state-of-the-art access and security controls is the best path forward—not only for TikTok, but for the industry as a whole—and we remain committed to continued consultation and to finding innovative answers to what we firmly believe are solvable concerns."
By fLEXI tEAM