TikTok Will Never Hand Over Data to Chinese Govt, Says CEO

TikTok has sought to distance itself from Beijing after it was banned in India earlier this week. In a letter to the Indian government dated June 28th, the company’s CEO, Kevin Mayer, said that the Chinese government has never asked for data of Indian users. He further claimed that the company wouldn’t comply with such an order even if Beijing asks for it.

According to Mayer, data from Indian users is stored in servers in Singapore, and not in China. “I can confirm that the Chinese government has never made a request to us for the TikTok data of Indian users. If we do ever receive such a request in the future, we would not comply”, he said.

In the letter, Mayer also claimed that the company is taking all possible steps to protect the privacy of its users. “The privacy of our users, and the security and sovereignty of India, are of utmost importance to us. We have already announced our plans to build a data center in India”, he said.

The letter was send ahead of a possible meeting between the company and government representatives next week. The meeting would likely look for a way to get the ban overturned sooner rather than later. However, according to sources quoted by Reuters, such a step seems unlikely in the near future. TikTok was one of the 59 Chinese apps banned by the government of India this week out of alleged national security concerns.

TikTok is owned by China-based ByteDance, but has been looking to distance itself from Beijing of late. The parent company is reportedly considering shifting its global headquarters outside China to address US concerns. ByteDance, last year, also promised to set up a data center in India to comply with the country’s data-privacy laws.

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