Starting on Tuesday, the Canadian government will prohibit the video app TikTok from all government-issued devices. After reviewing the app, Canada’s chief information officer determined that it presents an “unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security,” leading to the decision, as reported by BBC News.
TikTok, which is owned by Chinese firm ByteDance Ltd., has been criticized for its use of personal information and ties to the Chinese government. The ban comes just days after the European Commission announced a similar prohibition.
According to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, there is enough security concern surrounding the app to necessitate the change. TikTok has been accused of sharing user data with the Chinese government, and last year, the company admitted that some staff in China could access European user data. US federal employees were prohibited from using TikTok in late 2020, and on Monday, the White House gave government agencies 30 days to remove the app from their systems.
The Canadian privacy regulators are also looking into TikTok over worries about user data, particularly whether the company obtains “valid and meaningful” consent from users when collecting personal information. A recent survey indicates that around one-fourth of Canadian adults use the app.
The Canadian Treasury Board, which oversees federal government operations, includes the country’s chief information officer. This week, the government will remove the TikTok app from government-issued phones and block future downloads of the app on other devices. TikTok expressed dissatisfaction with the decision and stated that it occurred without any specific security concerns about TikTok or contacting them to discuss any issues beforehand.