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TikTok’s global security chief resigns

TikTok’s head of global security Roland Cloutier, who oversees cybersecurity, is stepping down but will remain with the company, according to a memo on TikTok’s website.

Cloutier, who is based in Florida, said his decision followed recent changes to security teams at the video-sharing app, which is owned by China’s ByteDance and has come under increasing scrutiny. scrutiny from US regulators regarding the use of personal data.

“With our recent announcement regarding data management changes in the United States, it is time for me to transition from my role as Director of Global Security to a strategic advisory role focused on the business impact of security programs and of trust, working directly with (CEO) Shou, (ByteDance VP of Technology) Dingkun and other senior leaders,” Cloutier wrote in the memo.

Cloutier was brought in two years ago to help TikTok deal with traditional cybersecurity issues, as well as data security issues unique to TikTok due to its Chinese ownership.

However, TikTok has revamped its global security team and moved China-specific security concerns, including the cantonment of ByteDance, to more localized teams.

He recently announced a dedicated US data security team known as “USDS” as the guardians of US users’ information, minimizing China’s access to data. The company is discussing a structure in which the team would operate autonomously and would not be under the control or supervision of TikTok, Reuters previously reported.

TikTok, whose management is based in the United States and Singapore, plans to deploy similar data security teams to other regions, including the EU, according to a source.

The company hired Cloutier from payroll processing company Automated Data Processing Inc (ADP) in 2020.

Kim Albarella, a senior member of TikTok’s security team, will serve as the acting head of global security. Albarella previously worked for ADP for over a decade.

TikTok has faced growing questions from US senators about the security of US user data – and some want the Federal Trade Commission to investigate. TikTok told lawmakers earlier this month it was working on a final deal with the Biden administration that would “fully protect user data and the national security interests of the United States.”