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US, Canada Bans TikTok on Government Mobile Devices

FILE - A teenager presents a smartphone with the logo of Chinese social network Tik Tok, January 21, 2021
FILE - A teenager presents a smartphone with the logo of Chinese social network Tik Tok, January 21, 2021

The U.S. and Canada this week joined a list of several nations where the use of TikTok has been banned on government-issued mobile devices as authorities cite privacy and cyber security concerns.

The U.S. government this week gave all federal agencies 30 days to delete the Chinese-owned video sharing application from their systems citing security concerns.

The ban was a result of divided lawmakers voting on the degree to which restrictions should be placed on the Chinese application, with some advocating for an outright ban.

Michael McCaul, the Republican chair of the committee that sponsored the anti-TikTok bill labelled the video sharing platform a threat to national security.

“TikTok is a national security threat … It is time to act,” said McCaul.

“Anyone with TikTok downloaded on their device has given the CCP a backdoor to all their personal information. It’s a spy balloon into their phone,” he added, in reference to the Communist Party of China.

The Chinese Bytedance owned video sharing application has long insisted that it does not share data with President Xi Jinping’s government and that all consumer information is not held in China.

Tiktok also disputed accusations of it collecting more user data than other social media companies and insists that it is run independently by its own management.

Despite the reassurances issued by TikTok, several nations have joined the US in practicing caution about the platform and its ties to China.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Monday actioned a similar plan to that of the U.S., a verdict that pushed lawmakers in the North American nation to suspend their TikTok accounts.

Jagmeet Singh, a member of the New Democratic party said he was an avid user of the Chinese platform having garnered over 800,000 followers that interacted with his political ideologies.

Despite having a large following on the platform, Singh’s office released a statement saying he respected Trudeau’s directive and took “all security concerns seriously.”

“We will comply with any directives issued about banning TikTok from government devices to ensure that information is protected,” added the statement.

Information for this report was sourced from Reuters and Associated Press.