TikTok, engaged in a charm offensive to reassure European authorities, announced on Wednesday that its users’ data would be stored from this year in three centres, two in Ireland and one in Norway.
Currently European users’ data is stored in Singapore and the United States, said Elaine Fox, head of privacy for TikTok in Europe.
Facing growing distrust, the video app, owned by Chinese giant ByteDance, is working with a European partner company to ensure that such data is not transferred to China, along the lines of measures taken in the United States.
The project, dubbed 'Clover,' is worth €1.2 billion and began six months ago. It will also restrict TikTok employees’ access to the data, said Theo Bertram, vice president for public policy in Europe.
TikTok is trying to assuage the fears of Europeans and Americans, several of whose governments and institutions have banned the app from the work phones of their officials. These include the European Commission and Parliament.
In Belgium, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has asked the intelligence services to carry out a risk analysis on the social network. Walloon Minister-President Elio Di Rupo, meanwhile, was due to propose on Thursday that government staff and ministers be banned from installing the TikTok app on devices that also contain business applications.
The Centre for Cybersecurity Belgium (CCB) is preparing an analysis of the threat posed by a series of electronic applications, starting with TikTok, State Secretary for Privacy Mathieu Michel said last week.
TikTok claims more than 150 million users in Europe, including the UK.