TikTok hires Air Force vet as chief security officer amid cyber security concerns

Navy bans TikTok app

Ret. Army Brigadier General Anthony Tata talks about how the Chinese-based social-media app poses a cybersecurity threat.

Video smartphone app TikTok tapped ADP Chief Security Officer Roland Cloutier to become the app's new head of security information, TikTok chief Alex Zhu announced Thursday.

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The hire comes as TikTok faces increasing pressure by the U.S. government to ensure the cyber safety of its young user base as a Chinese tech company that must comply with the Chinese government under a 2017 law introduced by President Xi Jinping.

"As TikTok grows and serves an ever-larger, more diverse global community, we have a clear responsibility to continue to maximize security on our platform. We are thrilled to have a recognized global expert and leader like Roland to help us deliver on that promise," Zhu said in a statement Thursday.

(Chesnot/Getty Images)

Zhu added that with Cloutier's leadership, "and with the exceptional global team we already have in place," TikTok will be able to "earn the trust of the broader community by delivering world-class security systems, processes and policies."


Cloutier, a U.S. Air Force veteran, oversees ADP’s global cyber and information protection operations, among other services.

"It is a privilege to join TikTok’s talented team as the company continues its amazing journey of building a vibrant global community," Cloutier said in a statement. "There has never been a more exciting or challenging time to serve in the security field. I am looking forward to working with my new colleagues at TikTok to develop the solutions required to protect our hundreds of millions of users and creators around the world."


Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), a staunch critic of big tech and the security risks that come with it, introduced legislation on Wednesday to ban TikTok from all government devices, including phones and computers.

"[TikTok] tracks your search history, your keystrokes, your location — and shares it [with China]," Hawley tweeted. "That’s why [the] Pentagon, State Dept, Homeland Security & TSA banned it for employees. I will introduce legislation to ban [TikTok]  for ALL federal employees on all govt devices."

A 2017 Chinese law introduced by President Xi Jinping states that "any organization and citizen" shall "support and cooperate in national intelligence work," according to Foreign Policy magazine.


The U.S. Marine Corps, Army and Navy have all banned TikTok from government-issued devices.

ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, has tried to minimize attention on its China connections after lawmakers of both parties asked the intelligence community to examine the national security risks associated with the app. The company released a TikTok "transparency report" on Dec. 30.

"The Chinese government has never asked us to provide access to any TikTok U.S. user data, and we would not do so if asked," a ByteDance spokesman told The Wall Street Journal.


This report contains material from previous FOX Business articles.

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