Canada on Monday announced the ban on Chinese social media app TikTok from government-issued devices, saying it poses an “unacceptable” risk to privacy and security. adding to the growing tensions between the two countries.
The move underscores the growing trend against TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance Ltd, due to concerns that it is close to Beijing and that users’ information is blocked around the world.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters that his government is looking closely at ways to ensure the safety of Canadians online.
“Maybe this is the first step, maybe the only step we have to take,” he said in reference to the action against TikTok.
As the government bans TikTok on work phones, “many Canadians, businesses and individuals will think about the security of their own information and may make decisions as a result,” he said. .
The ban will start on Tuesday and will also prevent federal employees from downloading the application in the future, according to a statement from the Finance Board of Canada, which oversees the administration. general.
TikTok’s data collection methods provide more access to phone content, Finance Committee President Mona Fortier said in a statement.
“Although the risk of using this application is clear, we have no evidence at this time that government information has been compromised,” he said.
TikTok initially said it was disappointed with the decision, but later issued another statement noting that it was “happy” that Canada moved to block the app after similar bans in Europe and the United States.
The ban was issued “without citing any security concerns or contacting us with questions,” a TikTok spokesperson said in an email.
The European Commission also banned this last week, but in December the US Senate passed a bill to prevent federal employees from using the app on government machinery. India has banned TikTok in 2020.
Canada’s move highlights another strain in Sino-Canada relations that have been strained in recent years for a variety of reasons, most recently over Ottawa’s accusations that China is trying to influence its elections and which conducts air and maritime surveillance activities.
Beijing has denied the allegations and urged Ottawa to stop what it described as speculation and slander.
Ottawa has also previously barred Chinese companies from Canada’s key minerals and telecommunications sectors, citing threats to its national security.
In November, he ordered three Chinese companies to abandon their investments in Canadian precious minerals and initially banned the use of 5G equipment made by Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s. [RIC:RIC:HWT.UL] and ZTE Corp.
Last week, Canada’s federal and three provincial privacy authorities said they were jointly investigating TikTok over concerns about the collection, use and disclosure of personal information.
The Finance Committee said in its statement that the decision to use an advertisement or an advertisement is a personal decision.
“The Canadian Communications Security Agency’s Cyber Security (Cyber Center) guidelines strongly encourage Canadians to understand the risks and make an informed decision on their own before deciding what tools to use.”
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