Elaine Fox, Head of Privacy, TikTok - Europe
Last year, we outlined the approach we're taking in Europe to data governance, based on the principles of storing UK & EEA TikTok user data locally; minimising data flows outside of the region; and strictly limiting the number of employees with access to personal data to those who need it to do their job.
Today we're announcing more progress on the principle of data storage in Europe. We have now signed a contract for a data centre in Dublin to house UK & EEA TikTok user data. Working with an established third-party service provider on a site that is under construction, our data centre operations will commence in early 2023, ramping up throughout the rest of that year.
TikTok has long stored global user data in Singapore and the US. As a forward-looking company intent on continuing to provide a fulfilling platform for creators and businesses to entertain and realise meaningful opportunities, we believe it is important to provide a localised solution that includes leaning on the expertise of leadership and employees in the region. Such a regional approach to data governance enables us to stay aligned with European data sovereignty goals. At the same time, we are minimising data flows outside of the region in a way that allows us to maintain the global interoperability needed to ensure that our users here remain connected to our 1 billion strong community - and enjoy the benefits of a global product experience.
Where data transfers outside of the region are required, we rely on approved methods for data being transferred from Europe, such as standard contractual clauses. We also employ a range of complementary technical, contractual and organisational measures so that these transfers are afforded an equivalent level of data protection to that in the UK and EEA. This means in practice that any personal data is protected through a robust set of physical and logical security controls, along with various policies and data access controls for employees.
Our data centre operations illustrate our continued investment in Europe. We have thousands of employees across the region, working on areas including brand and creator engagement, e-commerce, monetisation, music, privacy, product, public policy, R&D and trust and safety. We've announced permanent offices in two of our most important global hubs, Dublin and London. We're further bolstering our local leadership teams in France, Italy and Spain and are scaling our business in new markets such as Belgium and the Netherlands.
This latest investment also further cements the importance of Ireland to our global business operations. Since 2020, we've established and expanded a number of strategically-important functions including our EMEA Trust & Safety and European SMB Hubs. Last year, we launched our European Transparency and Accountability Centre, where we have virtually hosted hundreds of industry experts, providing them with detailed insights into how we secure our community's safety, data, and privacy. In addition, the European privacy legal team and Office of the Data Protection Officer are both based in Ireland - we're also expanding our global security organisation there with the establishment of our specialist Fusion Centre.
TikTok's long-standing commitment to our community in Europe is to provide an entertaining and fun platform, with the peace of mind that we are protecting users' privacy and data. This extensive ramp up in our operations and personnel are tangible steps that show what that commitment to Europe looks like in practice.
Our work to enhance data governance in Europe and beyond is a continuous process. In addition to our local data storage strategy, we'll continue to implement more features and controls to safeguard European user data and further minimise data transfers outside the region. Our approach reflects our commitment to holding ourselves accountable to our thriving community, while further enhancing the protection of their personal data.