TikTok refutes Shashi Tharoor's allegations of data sharing with China

TikTok illegally collecting data received by China: Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor, MP. PTI

New Delhi: Chinese firm-owned short-video sharing app TikTok Tuesday refuted allegations of collecting user data illegally, saying it abides by all local laws and regulations.

In a statement, the app, owned by Chinese firm ByteDance, said privacy and security of users are its top priority.

The statement came in response to senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor alleging in the Lok Sabha on Monday that the short video platform was illegally collecting data and sending to China. Tharoor had described it an issue of national security.

TikTok termed the allegations as "untrue" and said it abides by local laws and regulations in the markets where it operates. It said the Chinese government has no access to TikTok users' data nor does it have any existing partnership with China Telecom.

"These claims are simply untrue. The privacy and security of our users is a top priority for TikTok, and we abide by local laws and regulations in the markets where we operate," it said.

The statement further added that the Indian users' data is stored in the US and Singapore at "industry-leading third-party data centers".

"TikTok does not operate in the People's Republic of China and their government has no access to TikTok users' data, nor does it have any existing partnership with China Telecom," the statement added.

Tharoor had Monday said he would like to draw the attention of the House to India's vulnerability to data leakage and surveillance due to the absence of a robust comprehensive data protection framework. He had urged the government to introduce a comprehensive legal framework to protect the fundamental right to privacy and save democracy of the country.

"Recently, the federal regulators in the US slapped a fine of 5.7 million dollars on the social media app TikTok for illegally collecting data on children," he said, adding that there are reports that the Chinese government receives data from TikTok through the wholly state-owned China Telecom.

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