TikTok's global security chief Roland Cloutier has resigned, shortly after the company announced a significant change to its data protection rules (opens in a new tab).

Kim Albarella, who was previously responsible for the company's security risk, supplier and customer insurance, is expected to take Cloutier's place on an interim basis.

The news comes as TikTok looks to revamp the way it handles data, migrating US user data to Oracle-owned servers after enduring years of scrutiny over its data handling practices.

Who is Roland Cloutier?

Prior to his two years at TikTok, Cloutier held senior cybersecurity roles at Dell EMC, human resources and payroll software company ADP, and Paradigm Technology Partners.

In his new advisory role, Cloutier will work with senior management to "focus on the business impact" of TikTok's security and trust programs.

Albarella is also an ADP alumnus and has also held positions at Ernst and Young and Morgan Stanley.

"Part of our evolutionary approach has been to downplay concerns about the security of US user data, including creating a new department to manage US user data for TikTok," he said. TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew and TikTok Vice President. ByteDance technology, Dingkun. Hong said in a statement.

“This is a significant investment in our data protection practices, and also changes the scope of the role of the Global Chief Security Officer (CSO).”

Cloutier is expected to retire from day-to-day activities from September 2.

What is behind the move?

The move to renew TikTok's cybersecurity leadership comes as the company's scrutiny of its data practices shows no signs of abating.

Buzzfeed recently published allegations (opens in a new tab) that China-based ByteDance employees accessed the private data of US users between September 2021 and January 2022, according to leaked audio from more of 80 internal TikTok meetings.

The accusations definitely put the company in serious trouble, prompting several Republican senators to send a letter to TikTok management.

The letter (opens in a new tab) called Buzzfeed's findings "simple, but not surprising" and asked the company to answer a host of questions about the allegations.

Changes to its cloud hosting and security leadership aren't just steps TikTok is taking to ensure data privacy.

TikTok also assured users that it was making other operational changes to help ensure data privacy, including creating a committee with US leadership just to manage US user data.

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