Canada Bans TikTok from Government Devices, Following US and EU
Looks like washroom breaks for federal government employees are going to get a lot more boring, as Canada has banned TikTok from its government-issued mobile devices.
That’s according to a memo sent to employees today by senior Global Affairs Canada officials, and obtained by numerous media outlets.
“As of February 28, the TikTok app will be automatically removed and blocked from use on all government-issued mobile devices,” says the memo, reports CTV News.
“A review of the mobile application’s behaviour … found that TikTok’s data collection methods may leave users vulnerable to cyber attacks,” says the memo, signed off by assistant deputy minister Stéphane Levesque, chief security officer Sébastien Beaulieu and chief information officer Jean Paul Donoghue.
Last week, a joint privacy probe was launched by Canadian regulators in regards to TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance.
In late 2022, TikTok was banned in the U.S. on government-issued devices, while the European Commission did the same last week. It’s no surprise Canada is following the lead of its closest allies.
TikTok Canada spokesperson Danielle Morgan told the National Post it was “disappointed” in the decision made “without citing any specific security concerns” or contacting the social network prior to the ban.
Morgan claimed Ottawa was “singling out” TikTok and the decision will “prevent officials from reaching the public on a platform loved by millions of Canadians.”
My statement announcing a ban on the use of TikTok on Government of Canada mobile devices. pic.twitter.com/X8Zfuyz5p4
— Mona Fortier 🇨🇦 (@MonaFortier) February 27, 2023
“The decision to remove and block TikTok from government mobile devices is being taken as a precaution, particularly given concerns about the legal regime that governs the information collected from mobile devices, and is in line with the approach of our international partners,” said President of the Treasury Board, Mona Fortier.
“On a mobile device, TikTok’s data collection methods provide considerable access to the contents of the phone. While the risks of using this application are clear, we have no evidence at this point that government information has been compromised,” she added.
The move comes as the federal government is being questioned about possible Chinese Communist Party interference in 2019 and 2021 federal elections, which favoured a Liberal minority victory. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeated to Canadians there’s nothing to see here and no public inquiry is needed.
TikTok remains the #1 app in Apple’s App Store, ranking first in the Entertainment category. The app offers short-form video that has proved to be popular and addicting, due to the app’s sophisticated algorithm which is able to curate viral and relevant content to keep users glued to the app.