Canada bans the use of the TikTok app on all government devices. The ban comes into force from today, the BBC reports.
The decision follows a review by Canada’s Chief Information Officer. The app poses an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security, Canadian officials say.
Canadian privacy regulators are also investigating TikTok over concerns about user data, specifically whether the company obtains “valid and meaningful” consent from users when it collects personal information.
Days earlier, the European Commission issued a similar decision.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the change was necessitated by security concerns. This may be the first step, this may be the only step we have to take, he said during a news conference.
The TikTok platform has been criticized for its use of personal information and ties to the Chinese government.
US federal employees were banned from using TikTok late last year, and on Monday the White House gave government agencies 30 days to purge the app from their systems. A number of US universities have also banned the app from being used on their networks.
Also on Monday, the White House gave US government agencies 30 days to ensure they don’t have the Chinese app TikTok on federal devices and systems.
In an effort to keep American data secure, all federal agencies should remove TikTok from phones and systems and block Internet traffic to the company, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young told the agencies in a guidance memorandum seen by Reuters.
A ban on using the app was issued by Congress late last year. Similar actions followed from more than half of the US states, Taiwan, the EU.
The device ban — while affecting a small portion of TikTok’s US users — is fueling calls for a total ban on the video-sharing app. Concerns about China’s national security have grown in recent weeks after a Chinese balloon floated over the US.
TikTok insists that Chinese government officials do not have access to user data and that the Chinese version of the app is separate from the one used in the rest of the world.
TikTok says the concerns are fueled by misinformation and denies using the app to spy on Americans. The action does not affect the more than 100 million Americans who use TikTok on personal or work devices.
Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young informed the agencies in a guidance memorandum seen by Reuters that they would be required to adjust information technology contracts to ensure that vendors ensure the safety of American data by ending the use of “ TikTok’ on the devices and systems used as part of their work.
Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has urged Congress not to ban TikTok. The House Foreign Affairs Committee is expected to vote today on a bill that would give President Joe Biden new powers to ban the app, which is used by more than 100 million Americans, according to Reuters.
“Banning TikTok would violate the First Amendment rights of millions of Americans who use the app to express themselves,” ASGS wrote on Twitter.
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