Canada joins US and EU in banning TikTok from state phones
Canada will bar civil servants from using TikTok Inc. on government-issued mobile devices due to security concerns around data collection.
The social media app, which is owned by China’s ByteDance Ltd., will be automatically removed and blocked from devices starting on Feb. 28, Treasury Board President Mona Fortier announced Monday.
“Following a review of TikTok, the Chief Information Officer of Canada determined that it presents an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security,” Fortier said in a statement. She said TikTok’s data collection methods “provide considerable access to the contents of the phone.”
She added that there is “no evidence at this point that government information has been compromised.”
Canada’s ban follows similar decisions by the European Commission and the US Congress. The app has prompted security concerns from Western governments due to its Chinese ownership and fears the government in Beijing could force the company to share its user data.
Last week, four privacy regulators in Canada also launched an investigation into TikTok over its collection, use and disclosure of personal information — including whether it’s complying with laws when dealing with younger users.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the civil-service curbs are a “first step” in keeping Canadians safe, but didn’t commit to other actions such as banning TikTok from public access.
While he expects “many Canadians, from businesses to private individuals” to “reflect on the security of their own data,” Trudeau said he prefers to let them make their own choices.
The prime minister is also under pressure over media reports about China interfering in Canadian elections by attempting to get favorable candidates into parliament. Trudeau was asked Monday if he’ll call a public inquiry into the matter, but said a parliamentary committee is already planning to study it.
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