The lists keep growing; are we gradually seeing the end of the use of the TikTok app in government-owned phones across the world? Starting from February 28, the TikTok app will no longer have access to government-owned devices in Canada.
According to National Post, the Canadian government believes that the Chinese-owned app presents an “unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security,” and the method by which the app’s parent company ByteDance collects data create vulnerability to cyber-attacks.
A statement issued by the President of the Treasury Board, Mona Fortier reads:
“The Government of Canada is committed to keeping government information secure. We regularly monitor our systems and take action to address risks.
“Effective February 28, 2023, the TikTok application will be removed from government-issued mobile devices. Users of these devices will also be blocked from downloading the application in the future. Following a review of TikTok, the Chief Information Officer of Canada determined that it presents an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security.”
Canada said the decision to stop the use of the app in government-owned device is precautionary, especially when you consider concerns about the legal framework governing the information collected from mobile devices. It adds that this is in line with the approach of its international partners.
“While the risks of using this application are clear, we have no evidence at this point that government has been compromised.
“For the broader public, the decision to use a social media application or platform is a personal choice. However, the Communications Security Establishment’s Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (Cyber Centre) guidance strongly recommends that Canadians understand the risks and make an informed choice on their own before deciding what tools to use.”
Over the weekend, The Guardian reported that the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has come under pressure to ban TikTok from government-owned devices. This would be in line with moves recently made by the EU and the US over security-related issues concerning TikTok.
However, The Guardian reports that the British Prime Minister is currently not thinking along that line. TikTok is currently very popular among politicians in the UK, which makes the decision a bit more difficult to take.
A No 10 spokesperson told The Guardian that he was “not aware” of any ban on Downing Street staff using the China-owned app.