ByteDance-owned TikTok announced on Wednesday that it will open three new data centers in Ireland and Norway as part of its new initiative named ‘’Project Clover’’ which aims to further safeguard data of its 150 million users in Europe.
‘’This initiative will introduce a number of new measures to strengthen existing protections and further align our overall approach to data governance with the principle of European data sovereignty,’’ the company said in a blog post.
As part of the ‘’Project Clover’’, TikTok said it will open two data centers in Dublin, Ireland, one of which was already announced before, and the third one in Norway’s Hamar region. The company said these centers will cost it €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) every year.
It will start moving the data of European users, which are currently stored in the United States and Singapore, to these new data centers this year and the migration will continue into 2024.
A European security company, which TikTok will soon reveal the name of, will oversee how the short video platform manages the data of users in the region.
The company said that it has been working on the ‘’Project Clover’’ since last year. That’s long before the app was banned by the governments of the US, Canada, and the European Commission from being used on government-issued devices, over concerns that it could be used by the Chinese government to access and monitor their citizens’ personal data.
“The Chinese government has never asked us for data and if they would, we would refuse to do so,” said Theo Bertram, TikTok’s Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy for Europe.
Meanwhile, the company also introduced a similar initiative for the U.S. market before named ‘’Project Texas’’, as part of which it has committed $1.5 billion to store American users’ data in Texas-based Oracle’s systems.
However, whether the ‘’Project Texas’’ would be enough for TikTok to maintain its operations in the United States remains a question for now.
On Tuesday, the White House endorsed a new Senate bill that would enable the Commerce Department to impose limitations on or ban foreign technologies like TikTok if they pose a risk to national security.