Former exec: China has backdoor access to TikTok data!

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A former top ByteDance executive is alleging that the China has backdoor access to all TikTok data!


Former Exec : China Has Backdoor Access To TikTok Data!

A former top executive at ByteDance – TikTok’s parent company, has just claimed that it built a “backdoor channel” in its code to allow the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) supreme access to user data in TikTok.

This revelation came as part of the lawsuit that Roger Yu Yintao, filed against ByteDance for wrongful termination from his job as head of engineering in the United States. He says he worked there from August 2017 till November 2018.

In his lawsuit filed on May 12 at the San Francisco Superior Court, Roger Yu alleges that he was fired from his job for his “observation and reporting of illegal conduct” at ByteDance to his supervisors.

He said he observed ByteDance being “responsive to the CCP’s requests” to share, elevate, or even remove content”, describing the company as “a useful propaganda tool for the Chinese Communist Party”, and is engaged in a “culture of lawlessness”.

More shockingly, he claimed that the CCP has a special office in ByteDance, sometimes referred to as the “Committee”. Its task was allegedly to monitor ByteDance, and advise it on how to advance “core Communist values”.

He also claimed that the CCP “Committee” can demote content it viewed as unfavourable to China’s interests, and even has a “death switch” to turn off Chinese versions of its apps.

Roger Yu also claimed that he “saw the backdoor channel in the code”. If true, such a backdoor would give China and the CCP government unfettered access to all data in TikTok, no matter where the data is located.

The Committee maintained supreme access to all the company data, even data stored in the United States.

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Roger Yu Yintao and Zhang Yiming at ByteDance 2015
Roger Yu Yintao (left) and ByteDance founder, Zhang Yiming, at ByteDance, 2015

Allegedly, ByteDance was “aware that if the Chinese government’s backdoor was removed from the international / US version of the app, the Chinese government would, it feared, ban the company’s valuable Chinese-version apps”.

Roger Yu also accused ByteDance of scraping data from its competitors – mainly Instagram and Snapchat, without users’ permission. He claimed that ByteDance used software to “systematically” collect videos from its competitors, and repost them to its own platform using fake accounts, without their creators’ permission.


ByteDance Denies Allegations Of Backdoor Access For China

A ByteDance spokesperson has denied the allegations laid out in Roger Yu Jintao’s lawsuit, claiming that he only worked for a short time on an unrelated app called Flipagram, which was discontinued for business reasons.

We plan to vigorously oppose what we believe are baseless claims and allegations in this complaint.

Mr. Yu worked for ByteDance Inc. for less than a year and his employment ended in July 2018.

According to earlier reporting of Roger Yu Yintao’s lawsuit, he realised that ByteDance had been engaged for years in a “worldwide scheme” to steal and profit from content created on other platforms soon after he began his job.

In response to those allegations, the ByteDance spokesperson said that the company is “committed to respecting the intellectual property of other companies, and we acquire data in accordance with industry practices and our global policy.”


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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.


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