TikTok has launched its first European data centre, as part of its efforts to address Western fears over surveillance-related privacy risks.
The Chinese-owned company says it has started migrating European user information to its new data centre in Dublin. Two more centres under construction, one in Norway and another one in Ireland.
TikTok first announced its plan to localise European data storing in March, under the name “Project Clover.” The full migration of the app’s 150 millions users in the region is expected by the end of 2024. Currently, TikTok stores its global user data in Singapore, Malaysia, and the US.
The move came in response to rising concerns by governments and regulators in the West, alleging that TikTok user data is being accessed by the Chinese government — which the company has denied.
Nevertheless, a series of institutions including the EU Commision, the UK Parliament, and the French government have banned use of the app on work-related devices.
To further ease fears, the social media app has assigned Project Clover’s oversight to a third-party European cybersecurity firm, UK-based NCC Group.
NCC Group will audit TikTok’s data controls and protections, monitor data flows, provide independent verification, and report any incidents.
“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,” said Theo Bertram, TikTok’s VP of Public Policy in Europe.