TikTok Security Chief To Step Down Over United States User Data Scandal

Roland Cloutier, TikTok’s global chief security officer (CSO), has stepped down from TikTok as the company proceeds to use Oracle’s US-based servers for American data storage.

Cloutier wrote in the memo, “With our recent announcement regarding data management changes in America, it’s now for me to transition form my role as Global Chief Safety Officer into a strategic advisory position focusing on business impact of security programs and trust programs working directly with Shou and Dingkun.”

Cloutier, who joined TikTok in 2020, will be officially stepping down on September 2nd. Kim Albarella will take over his position temporarily.

Shou Zi Chew, TikTok’s CEO, and Dingkun Hong, ByteDance’s vice president of technology, say that the changes are meant to reduce concerns about US user data security.

They also claim that the global Chief Security Officer (CSO) role has been “changed.”

According to a TikTok spokesperson, Cloutier was not involved in the management of TikTok’s new US-focused department. This organizational shift was in place for months, she explained.

TikTok’s ties to China-based ByteDance have been under scrutiny for years. Some US officials have accused the app of sending data from Americans to the Chinese government.

In addition, BuzzFeed News published a report last month claiming that TikTok employees in China “repeatedly” accessed US users’ data between September 2021 and January 2022.

A group of Republican senators sent a letter to TikTok in response to the report. In addition, they questioned the validity and reliability of TikTok’s data privacy testimony at an October hearing.

These concerns were addressed by TikTok earlier in the month. It reiterated its plans to continue working with Oracle to “fully protect user data.”

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