Canada Bans TikTok on Government Devices Over Security Risks – The Canadian government has revealed that it will prohibit the use of TikTok on mobile devices provided by the government, which indicates a growing concern among officials in the western world regarding the Chinese-owned social media platform. Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, said there may or may not be further steps.
“I suspect that as government takes the significant step of telling all federal employees that they can no longer use TikTok on their work phones, many Canadians from business to private individuals will reflect on the security of their own data and perhaps make choices,” Trudeau said.
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“I’m always a fan of giving Canadians the information for them to make the right decisions for them.” As a precautionary cybersecurity measure, the executive arm of the European Union declared last week that TikTok had been temporarily prohibited on the mobile devices utilized by its staff.
The decision taken by the European Union is in line with actions taken in the United States, where more than half of the states and the Congress have already barred the use of TikTok on official government devices. An investigation into whether TikTok complies with Canadian privacy laws was announced last week by Canada’s federal privacy watchdog and its provincial counterparts in British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec.
Despite being extremely popular among young individuals, concerns have been raised regarding TikTok’s Chinese ownership, with apprehensions that Beijing might be gathering information on western users or promoting pro-China propaganda and false information. TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese firm that relocated its headquarters to Singapore in 2020.
The security and data privacy of TikTok is under increasingly close scrutiny from both Europe and America due to concerns that the app could be utilized to advance pro-Beijing opinions or collect users’ data. This comes amidst an ongoing struggle between China and western countries over technology, spanning from spy balloons to computer chips.
In addition to prohibiting the use of TikTok on government-issued mobile devices, the Canadian treasury board president, Mona Fortier, declared that the federal government would prevent the app from being downloaded on such devices in the future. Fortier said the chief information officer of Canada had determined it “presents an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security”.
The app will be removed from Canadian government-issued phones on Tuesday. “On a mobile device, TikTok’s data collection methods provide considerable access to the contents of the phone,” Fortier said. “While the risks of using this application are clear, we have no evidence at this point that government information has been compromised.”
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Recent media reports have brought to light apprehensions regarding potential Chinese interference in Canadian elections, which has led to opposition parties demanding a public inquiry into allegations of foreign election interference. A TikTok spokesperson said in an email: “It’s curious that the government of Canada has moved to block TikTok on government-issued devices without citing any specific security concern or contacting us with questions only after similar bans were introduced in the EU and the US.”
The company said it was always available to discuss the privacy and security of Canadians. “Singling out TikTok in this way does nothing to achieve that shared goal,” the email said. “All it does is prevent officials from reaching the public on a platform loved by millions of Canadians.”