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Starting on Tuesday, the video app TikTok won’t work on any government-owned devices in Canada.
The decision was made after Canada’s top IT official looked at the situation. A government representative said the app “poses an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security.”
A representative from TikTok said that the company was sad about the decision.
It comes just a few days after the European Commission said it would do the same thing.
Fear for their safety
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that there were enough worries about the app’s security to make the change necessary.
People have said that TikTok is bad because it uses personal information and has ties to the Chinese government.
ByteDance Ltd., a company in China, owns the short-form video app.
Late last year, US federal workers were told they couldn’t use TikTok, and on Monday, the White House gave government agencies 30 days to get rid of the app.
Several college and university networks in the United States have banned the app. In addition, public bans have become stricter in India and several other Asian countries.
The company says that Chinese government officials don’t have access to user information and that the app used in China is different from the one used everywhere else. But the company said last year that some employees in China could see users’ information in Europe.
The ban on European Commission employees will start on March 15.
Canadian privacy regulators are also looking into TikTok because of worries about user data. They want to know, in particular, if the company gets “valid and meaningful” permission from users before it collects personal information.
Researchers at Toronto Metropolitan University’s Social Media Lab recently did a survey and found that about a quarter of adults in Canada use the app.
In a statement, Mona Fortier, president of Canada’s Treasury Board, said that the government “is committed to keeping government information secure.”
This week, the app will be taken off government phones and other devices, and it won’t be possible to download it again in the future.
The Treasury Board runs the federal government, and the chief information officer is a member of that board.
A company representative said that the ban on government-issued devices happened “without citing any specific security concerns about TikTok or contacting us to talk about any concerns before making this decision.”
TikTok says it is willing to meet with government officials to discuss how to protect Canadians’ privacy and safety, but singling out TikTok in this way doesn’t help reach that goal.
The EC says that TikTok can’t be used on staff devices
The European Commission has told its employees to get rid of the TikTok app from their phones and work computers.
The Commission said it was putting the measure in place to “protect data and improve cybersecurity.”
TikTok is owned by ByteDance, which is based in China. People have said that ByteDance takes information about its users and gives it to the Chinese government.
TikTok says that it works just like other social networking sites.
Sonya Gospodinova, a spokeswoman for the EU, said that the corporate management board of the European Commission, which is the EU’s governing body, decided for security reasons.
European Commission workers can’t use TikTok on their own devices with official apps because of the ban.
The Commission says that about 32,000 people work for it full-time or part-time. So by March 15, they have to get rid of the app as soon as possible.
Follow the rules by the due date to use corporate apps like the commission email and Skype for Business.
TikTok said that the Commission’s decision was wrong because it was based on false information about its platform.
It said last year that some workers in China could look at information about users in Europe.
People in the West have been paying more attention to ByteDance, which owns TikTok, over the past few months because they are worried about how much access Beijing has to user data.
Because of safety concerns, the US government banned TikTok on devices owned by the government last year.
The US is worried that the Chinese government could use the app to get into these devices and get information about US users.
Last month, it was said that the Dutch government told public officials not to use the app for similar reasons.
In the UK, MP Alicia Kearns, who oversees the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, recently told Sky News that people should delete the app.
Analytics firm Sensor Tower Data says that the video sharing app was the first app that wasn’t a “Meta” app to get downloaded three billion times worldwide. The app grew quickly and was the first to do so.
Shou Zi Chew, in charge of the social media service, met with EU officials in Brussels in January. They told TikTok to make sure that the data of European users are safe, and they also said that the company had a long way to go before they would trust it again.
At the time, a spokesperson for the EU said he made it clear that the company was working on a “robust” system for processing the data of Europeans in Europe.
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The company has also said that it will keep the data of US users in the US. But, again, this is to make Washington feel better.
A source in the EU told the BBC that the Council of the European Union is also taking steps like those taken by the Commission.
But the European Parliament said it knows what the Commission said, but TikTok is not part of the standard setup for business devices.