Articles TikTok quietly leaked Jobseeker data to China

TikTok quietly leaked Jobseeker data to China

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The video clip service TikTok sent personal data of job seekers to Chinese servers, but not everyone was informed about it in the privacy policy. When journalists discovered a redirect on the website careers.tiktok.com, the platform operators secretly removed it.

Recently, TikTok has been diligently trying to distance itself from its owner – the multinational holding ByteDance, officially registered in the Cayman Islands, but headquartered in Beijing. So, commenting for the press on the statement of Donald Trump, in which he accused TikTok of leaking user data to China, company representatives called this attack “baseless innuendo.”

According to TikTok’s privacy policy, its job site collects a wealth of information about job candidates, including sensitive data such as medical records, gender, race, marital status, and geolocation data. At the same time, information about all applicants living outside the PRC is allegedly stored on servers in Singapore.

Business Insider’s investigative journalism found this was not entirely true. There are several ways to create an account at careers.tiktok.com: when registering, specify your email or phone number, via LinkedIn or using your Facebook login. In the latter case, the user is presented with a TikTok Career dialog box, which, as it turned out, redirected to portal-tiktok.kundou.cn.

Beijing-based Kundou appears to be controlled by ByteDance, providing tech support for back-end recruiting software within the holding. However, when disclosing its structure, ByteDance never mentions Kundou, like its other operations in the PRC.

It is noteworthy that the text of TikTok Career’s privacy policy is not exactly the same in different countries. Europeans, Japanese and Singaporeans are directly informed that their data passes through Chinese servers, and from citizens of the United States and Malaysia, for example, this information is hidden.

Having discovered the redirect, the journalists, not without reason, suggested that the data of all users of careers.tiktok.com was deposited on Chinese servers – not only those who created an account through Facebook. When they requested a comment on TikTok, the service operators simply removed the redirect from the page, and then stated that they would no longer store such information in China.

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