The US and Canada have joined forces with the European Commission to protect national security by prohibiting government employees from utilizing ByteDance-owned TikTok.
While a 30-day deadline has been set for the removal of this app from mobile devices, authorities are stressing that these measures must be taken without delay in order to safeguard national security and privacy.
The Biden administration, on Monday, issued a directive in response to Congress’ ban on the popular video app TikTok on federal government devices in December.
Growing concerns over the potential for ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company, to provide user data to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) prompted the move.
Federal Chief Information Security Officer Chris DeRusha said, “this guidance is part of the Administration’s ongoing commitment to securing our digital infrastructure and protecting the American people’s security and privacy.”
USA gives government agencies 30 days to enforce TikTok ban pic.twitter.com/OXJ88hNpyn
— Nitesh Jha (@_niteshjha) February 28, 2023
TikTok’s response to the decision
Brooke Oberwetter, the spokesperson for TikTok, has hit out at the recent ban on federal devices as nothing more than “political theater”.
In a strongly worded statement, Oberwetter criticized the decision to ban TikTok from government-issued devices.
“The ban of TikTok on federal devices passed in December without any deliberation, and unfortunately, that approach has served as a blueprint for other world governments… We hope (Congress will) explore solutions that won’t have the effect of censoring the voices of millions of Americans,” said Oberwetter.
The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning was quick to respond to the announcement in an interview Tuesday, accusing the US of “generalizing the concept of national security” while “abusing national power” and “unreasonably suppressing enterprises of other countries.”
TikTok banned by the Canadian and European government
The European Commission banned the app from its equipment last week, following similar moves in the United States.
— The Tech Portal (@techportalntw) February 28, 2023
On Monday, the Canadian government issued a ban on TikTok from all of its devices, citing fears about Beijing’s access to user data. The ban came into effect on Tuesday, and government users will no longer be able to download the app.
The move follows in the footsteps of the European Commission, which also banned the app from all their equipment.
TikTok has continually denied accusations that it shares data with, or cedes control to, Chinese authorities.
However, ByteDance employees have had access to some American users’ data in the past. In an effort to quell US worries, TikTok announced plans back in June 2022 to store all American user data on US-based servers.
Countries that previously Banned TikTok
According to Bloomberg, last April, the Taliban regime announced a total ban on TikTok due to content-related issues.
This has been preceded by temporary bans imposed in countries such as Indonesia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh over narratives of inappropriate content circulating within the platform, including pornography and gambling.
However, according to Wikipedia information, India stands out as the biggest nation to have taken down TikTok, which it justified with concerns about national security.