TikTok's Irish Data Center up and Running as European Privacy Project Gets under Way

TikTok said Tuesday that operations are underway at the first of its three European data centers, part of the popular Chinese owned app's effort to ease Western fears about privacy risks.
The TikTok logo is seen on a mobile phone in front of a computer screen which displays the TikTok home screen, Saturday, March 18, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
The TikTok logo is seen on a mobile phone in front of a computer screen which displays the TikTok home screen, Saturday, March 18, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

LONDON (AP) — The video sharing app said it began transferring European user information to a data center in Dublin. Two more data centers, another in Ireland and one in Norway, are under construction, TikTok said in an update on its plan to localize European user data, dubbed Project Clover.

TikTok has been under scrutiny by European and American regulators over concerns that sensitive user data may end up in China. TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company that moved its headquarters to Singapore in 2020.

TikTok unveiled its plan earlier this year to store data in Europe, where there are stringent privacy laws, after a slew of Western governments banned the app from official devices.

NCC Group, a British cybersecurity company, is overseeing the project, TikTok's vice president of public policy for Europe, Theo Bertram, said in a blog post.

NCC Group will check data traffic to make sure that only approved employees "can access limited data types" and carry out "real-time monitoring" to detect and respond to suspicious access attempts, Bertram said.

"All of these controls and operations are designed to ensure that the data of our European users is safeguarded in a specially-designed protective environment, and can only be accessed by approved employees subject to strict independent oversight and verification," Bertram said.