Canada bans TikTok from government devices citing cyber security concerns
Employees of the US federal government and European Commission have also been banned from using the application, which is owned by Chinese firm ByteDance.
Canada on Monday announced that it is banning TikTok from all government-issued mobile devices as it expressed concerns of cyber security over the Chinese-owned video-hosting application, reported the Associated Press.
“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,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday.
The decision comes after a review by Canada’s chief information officer who said that the application presents an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security, reported the BBC.
Chinese firm ByteDance, which own the application, said that it was not made aware of any specific security concerns about TikTok before Canada imposed the ban, reported BBC.
“We are always available to meet with our government officials to discuss how we protect the privacy and security of Canadians, but singling out TikTok in this way does nothing to achieve that shared goal,” an unidentified spokesperson of the company said.
Canadian government’s decision came days after the European Commission employees were temporarily banned from using TikTok as a cybersecurity measure, reflecting concerns expressed by the United States Congress over the application.
Last year, the US federal employees were banned from using TikTok. As part of a $1.7 trillion spending Bill shared in December, most of the executive branch was banned from using TikTok or any other app created by ByteDance. On Monday, the White House gave government agencies 30 days to remove the app from their systems, reported the BBC.
The app was completely banned in India in 2020 at a time of heightened border tensions between India and China at the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh. TikTok was among 59 applications that were banned as Centre cited concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of users.
However, the recent series of bans for government employees in the West comes at a time when it is engaged in a tussle with China.
On February 4, the US military had shot down the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of South Carolina, adding to already strained relations between Washington and Beijing. However, China maintained that the balloon was merely a weather research airship that had deviated from its course.
The US has also repeatedly expressed its support to Taiwan, an island nation which China claims as a province that is to be unified with its mainland.