TikTok Gets Banned by More Cities in Ontario

Kitchener, Lincoln, and Vaughan on Monday became the latest cities in Ontario to ban TikTok on government-issued devices in light of recent cybersecurity and privacy concerns — reports The Toronto Star.

The City of Vaughan told the publication in a statement on Monday that, “effective immediately,” TikTok is no longer allowed to be installed or used on city employees’ corporate devices.

Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic announced the city’s adoption of the ban in a tweet on Monday, saying that the government is uninstalling TikTok from all corporate smartphones out of an “an abundance of caution, and in the interests of protecting our systems.”

Vaughan and Kitchener are following in the footsteps of a long list of Canadian jurisdictions that have banned TikTok on work phones used by government workers and, in some cases, even police.

TikTok’s questionable data policies and relationship with the Chinese government have given rise to uneasiness regarding data security in the West. Canada’s Chief Information Officer, Catherine Luelo, reviewed the popular but controversial social media app and concluded that it “presents an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security.”

Last month, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada launched a joint privacy probe into TikTok along with its provincial counterparts from Québec, British Columbia, and Alberta.

Since then, the federal government has banned TikTok from being installed or used on all government-issued mobile devices. The feds are positioning the ban as a preventative measure, with Treasury Board President Mona Fortier, who announced the move, noting that there has so far been no evidence that any government information was accessed by TikTok.

All provincial governments — including those of Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia — have followed suit with similar directives of their own.

Ontario became the last province to ban TikTok on corporate devices last week, and local municipalities are now doing the same. Ottawa announced a similar city-level ban on the same day, adding that along with work phones, TikTok would also be removed and blocked from personal devices used to access city-managed applications. The provincial capital of Toronto followed one day later.