Short-video platform TikTok has unveiled a new program, Project Clover, designed to reassure UK officials that users’ personal data across Europe is well protected. To this end, two data centers are being built in Ireland.
The program’s name (Klee – Clover) is a nod to one of Ireland’s most recognizable symbols, where TikTok intends to build two data centers to locate European users’ personal data. In the US, a similar program is called Project Texas, and protecting US users will cost the platform $1.5 billion.
Such initiatives have gained momentum in recent months, as the US federal government, as well as the European Union and Canada, banned government employees from using the TikTok app on work devices. Lawmakers fear Beijing could force the platform’s administration to divulge user data and turn TikTok into a propaganda tool. Service management assures it will refuse to accommodate such requests – guaranteed by Project Texas and now Project Clover.
The United Kingdom and Australia, traditionally loyal allies of the United States, did not support such drastic measures, so TikTok decided to do some educational work with British politicians. Platform officials described Project Clover as a program capable of offering an unprecedented level of transparency and independent oversight, especially when compared to Meta’s social networks.*.
Attendees at TikTok briefings in the UK praised the company’s efforts to demonstrate transparency, but still expressed doubts that the platform could withstand pressure from Beijing. Wall Street Journal. In response, TikTok officials said they would finalize an agreement with a European company that would oversee the platform’s operations in Europe to protect local users from unauthorized data transfers. And the American Oracle is already engaged in the study of recommender algorithms.
The TikTok administration also said it was consulting with the responsible British intelligence agency, the UK National Computer Security Center. The department, added the service, considers the risks posed by TikTok to be “limited”, even if representatives of the special service themselves did not want to comment on this statement.
* It is included in the list of public associations and religious organizations for which the court made a final decision to liquidate or ban activities on the grounds provided for in Federal Law No. 114-FZ of July 25. 2002 “On Countering Extremist Activities”.