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TikTok opens Irish datacentre in push to safeguard European user data

Social media giant TikTok has completed the first of two datacentre builds it has under development in Ireland

Three years after going public with its plan to open its first European datacentre in Dublin, Ireland, TikTok has confirmed the site is now operational and is in the throes of having user data migrated into it.

The news was confirmed in a blog post by Theo Bertram, TikTok’s vice-president of public policy Europe, who said the datacentre will provide a “specially reinforced protective environment around our European user data”.

In support of this, the post goes on to detail how TikTok is working with European data security firm NCC Group to independently audit its data controls, monitor data flows, provide independent verification of its data protection processes and report any incidents.

“As an independent security provider, NCC Group will monitor data coming in and out of the secure environment to independently validate that only approved employees can access limited data types,” said the post.

“NCC Group will perform ongoing security assessments of the new security gateways we are building around European user data, the TikTok app our datacentres and other TikTok infrastructure.”

It added: “NCC Group will also server as a managed security services provider for our security gateways, performing real-time monitoring to identify and respond to any suspicious or anomalous access attempts and provide assurance on the integrity of the enhanced security controls operations.”

Stephen Bailey, global director of privacy at NCC Group, said the company was proud to have been chosen by TikTok for the project.

“Our objective scrutiny, monitoring and assurance means platform users in Europe and the UK can have confidence in the enhanced data security standards that TikTok is setting, which go above and beyond European regulatory requirements.”

The datacentre build comes under the remit of a body of work TikTok has undertaken called Project Clover, which is focused on creating what it terms a “secure enclave” for the data of its European users.

This is, according to the company’s Project Clover page on its website, designed to “strengthen existing protections and further align our overall approach to data governance with the principle of European data sovereignty.”

Project Clover has also previously seen TikTok commit to building two further European datacentres in support of this push, including another one in Dublin, Ireland, and an additional site in Norway. Both sites are still under construction at this time.

The Norway site will run on 100% renewable energy, primarily in the form hydropower, as confirmed by TikTok, and will be free-cooled by capitalising on the country’s naturally cooler climate.

“The operations in Norway will also recycle excess heat, which will be made available as an energy resource for new and existing activities in the surrounding area.”

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