EU Commission and White House ban TikTok from government devices: a threat to cybersecurity

Elizabeth Smith

EU and White House employees will soon have to say goodbye to one of the most popular and widely used social networks: TikTok. In fact, the two government boards have come out in favor of suspending the use of the Chinese social.

But what are the reasons that led to this decision? Here are all the details.

European Commission bans employees from using TikTok

The ban on the use of TikTok by EU employees will affect not only corporate devices but also the personal devices of workers registered in the system.

This is a major blow to TikTok, especially because of the reasons behind the EU decision.

In fact, the European Commission, through its spokeswoman Sonya Gospodinova, stated that the decision is closely linked to the desire to “protect against cybersecurity threats and actions.”

The issue of privacy and data protection has been a hot topic for some time now and, more than one case, a burning one.

All the more so, then, if the data that need protection are not only those of ordinary citizens but of secluded individuals and facilities that play a key role in the world. As European Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton points out:

“The European Commission is an institution and as such has a strong focus on cybersecurity protection and that is what we have taken this decision on.”

The final decision to ban TikTok, Breton continued, came from EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn.

White House, 30 days for TikTok cancellation from government devices

The White House gives federal agencies 30 days to wipe TikTok off all government electronic devices.

The timing is a “crucial step forward in addressing the risks presented by the app to sensitive government data,” says the Office of Management and Budget.

“The Biden administration is invested in defending our digital infrastructure. Setting the timeline is part of the administration’s commitment to protect Americans’ security and privacy,” it adds.

Canada is also banning TikTok from all government-issued mobile devices. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this could be a first step toward further action.

TikTok is popular among young people, but its Chinese ownership has raised fears that Beijing could use it to collect data on Western users or push pro-China narratives and misinformation.

TikTok’s response to the bans

The Chinese giant’s response was not long in coming and was rather piquant. In fact, through a statement, the company intervened on the EU decision to ban the use of TikTok:

“We are disappointed by this decision, which we believe is wrong and based on bias. We have contacted the Commission to set the record straight and explain how we protect the data of the 125 million people who are on TikTok every month across the EU.” In short, TikTok is not going for it but the EU’s intentions seem to be, at the moment, irreversible.

Also about the ban from American institutions, Beijing’s retort was immediate. The United States, “as a major world power, is so afraid of an app that young people like, they are too unsafe,” is the comment of Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning.

“We strongly oppose the United States’ wrong practice of generalizing the concept of national security, abusing state power and unreasonably suppressing the societies of other countries,” Mao added in the daily briefing.

Read also: Chinese spy balloon shot down, a diplomatic crisis? How the US-China relations may change

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