Canada Bans TikTok from Government Devices, International Scrutiny Grows

Canada has joined the United States and the European Commission in banning the use of the popular social media app TikTok on government-issued devices due to an “unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security.” The move underscores the international scrutiny against the Chinese-owned app, and it remains to be seen if other countries will follow in Canada’s footsteps.

Treasury Board President Mona Fortier announced the ban, stating that following a review by the Chief Information Officer of Canada, it was determined that the application presents “an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security.”

The European Commission had already banned staff from using the app on work devices, citing security concerns. The US government has also banned the app from most of its devices, and states including Pennsylvania and Congress have enacted similar bans.[0]

The Biden administration is giving federal agencies 30 days to ensure they do not have TikTok on any federal devices and to ensure vendors play by the same rules.[1] The law gave the Biden administration 60 days to send instructions on the ban to agencies, which the Office of Management and Budget did on Monday.[1]

The Canadian government has been taking steps to keep Canadians safe online, and banning TikTok is one of the actions they are taking.[2] In addition, the federal privacy watchdog and its counterparts in B.C., Alberta, and Quebec have announced an investigation to see whether the app complies with Canadian privacy legislation.[3]

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is expected to testify in front of Congress in March to address security concerns.[4] Canada’s official opposition parties have also called for a public inquiry into potential Chinese interference in the last two Canadian federal elections.[3]

To sum up, Canada has prohibited the use of TikTok on government-issued devices as a precautionary measure to address worries concerning the potential privacy and security issues posed by the Chinese-owned social media platform. The action emphasizes the intensifying international examination of TikTok and its parent firm ByteDance Ltd.[2] Whether other nations will emulate Canada's example in taking steps against the widely-used social media app is yet to be determined.

0. “European Commission bans staff from using TikTok on work devices” Engadget, 23 Feb. 2023, https://www.engadget.com/european-commission-bans-staff-from-using-tiktok-on-work-devices-185157323.html

1. “Biden administration gives federal agencies 30 days to ban TikTok” WPVI-TV, 28 Feb. 2023, https://6abc.com/is-tiktok-getting-banned-app-ban-joe-biden/12891171/

2. “After India, TikTok gets banned in this country over national security reasons” India Today, 28 Feb. 2023, https://www.indiatoday.in/technology/news/story/after-india-tiktok-gets-banned-in-this-country-over-national-security-reasons-2340520-2023-02-28

3. “Pierre Poilievre, Jagmeet Singh take TikTok hiatus amid government ban over privacy concerns” Toronto Star, 28 Feb. 2023, https://www.thestar.com/politics/federal/2023/02/27/pierre-poilievre-jagmeet-singh-take-tiktok-hiatus-amid-government-ban-over-privacy-concerns.html

4. “TikTok Ban Hits EU Commission Phones as Cybersecurity Worries Mount” Dark Reading, 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.darkreading.com/endpoint/tiktok-ban-hits-eu-commission-phones-cybersecurity-worries-mount