TikTok banned on all Canadian government devices over ‘unacceptable’ risk


The Canadian government is banning the use of the popular short-form video application TikTok on all government-issued mobile devices, Treasury Board President Mona Fortier announced on Monday. Effective Tuesday, TikTok “will be removed from government-issued mobile devices,” Fortier said in a statement.“Following a review of TikTok, the Chief Information Officer of Canada determined that it presents an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security,” she added.“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.” Story continues below advertisement TikTok’s data collection methods on mobile devices provide “considerable access” to the contents of the phone, Fortier explained.“While the risks of using this application are clear, we have no evidence at this point that government information has been compromised,” she added.Canadians, meanwhile, can continue to make a “personal choice” when it comes to whether to use the application.“However, the Communications Security Establishment’s Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (Cyber Centre) guidance strongly recommends that Canadians understand the risks and make an informed choice on their own before deciding what tools to use,” Fortier said.The announcement comes just days after the European Commission announced an outright ban on the use of the application on its work phones Thursday morning — including personal devices that are enrolled in the commission’s “mobile device service.” 4:50 Tech Talk: Canada’s privacy watchdogs investigates TikTok The app has also been banned in India, and the United States is currently considering legislation to ban TikTok amid fears it could be used to spy on Americans and censor content. Story continues below advertisement Congress also recently banned TikTok from most U.S. government-issued devices over bipartisan concerns about security, and the U.S. armed forces also have prohibited the app on military devices.The concerns clouding the social media platform stem from TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance.The company has faced criticism from those who warn that China’s government could access user data, such as browsing history and location — thanks to a Chinese law that requires private companies to cooperate with Beijing if asked. TikTok under investigation in Canada Canada’s federal privacy watchdog also announced on Thursday that it is launching a joint investigation into TikTok with three provincial counterparts.The investigation, the privacy commissioner’s office said, will dig into whether TikTok’s practices are “in compliance” with Canadian privacy legislation and whether “meaningful consent is being obtained for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information.” Story continues below advertisement Of particular concern to the watchdogs is the privacy of the younger Canadians, who dominate the use of the application in the country.A survey conducted by Toronto Metropolitan University’s Social Media Lab, released in September, found that just 26 per cent of all Canadians currently use TikTok. However, 76 per cent of those aged 18-24 have an account on the platform, it revealed.Canadian MPs are also set to probe security concerns about the popular social media application at a parliamentary committee.The House of Commons ethics committee voted earlier this month to undertake a study into TikTok and other social media platforms’ use “of private information of Canadians for the objective of data harvesting.”TikTok was the most-downloaded application in 2022, according to Forbes. &copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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