This Tuesday, the European Parliament announced that they’re banning TikTok from all government staff devices due to cybersecurity concerns. The video-sharing app is now banned in all three of the European Union’s (EU) main government institutions.
“In view of cybersecurity concerns, in particular regarding data protection and collection of data by third parties, the European Parliament has decided, in alignment with other institutions, to suspend as from 20 March 2023, the use of the TikTok mobile application on corporate devices,” it said in a statement reported by CNN.
The parliament also “strongly recommends that members and staff remove TikTok from their personal devices.”
TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, told CNN “it’s disappointing to see that other government bodies and institutions are banning TikTok on employee devices with no deliberation or evidence.”
“These bans are based on basic misinformation about our company, and we are readily available to meet with officials to set the record straight about our ownership structure and our commitment to privacy and data security,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
“We share a common goal with governments that are concerned about user privacy, but these bans are misguided and do nothing to further privacy or security. We appreciate that some governments have wisely chosen not to implement such bans due to a lack of evidence that there is any such need.”
A senior EU official working out of the European Council also told CNN that the General Secretariat of the Council, which is responsible for assisting the representatives of each of the 27 countries in the EU, “is in the process of implementing measures similar to those taken by the Commission.”
“It will be uninstalling the application on corporate devices and requesting staff to uninstall it from personal mobile devices that have access to corporate services,” the official added.
“The Secretariat continuously keeps its cybersecurity measures under review in close cooperation with the other EU institutions. The ban on TikTok applies only to devices overseen by the EU’s executive branch. This measure aims to protect the Commission against cybersecurity threats and actions which may be exploited for cyber-attacks against the corporate environment of the Commission,” it said in a statement.
A TikTok spokesperson discussed how at this time they were working to contact the commission as a means of “setting the record straight, and explaining how we can protect the data of the 125 million people across the EU who come to TikTok every month.”
In America, government agencies have had similar restrictions, with the White Horse directing federal agencies to remove the app from all government-issued devices over cybersecurity concerns.
Brooke Oberwetter, a TikTok spokesperson, stated that “the ban of TikTok on US federal devices passed in December without any deliberation, and unfortunately that approach has served as a blueprint for other world governments.”
“We hope that when it comes to addressing national security concerns about TikTok beyond government devices, Congress will explore solutions that won’t have the effect of censoring the voices of millions of Americans.”
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.