European Commission bans TikTok over cybersecurity concerns
In recent years, TikTok’s alleged mishandling of user data and its parent company’s connection to the Chinese government has prompted many US states and government entities to ban the app on their devices. Now, the European Commission (EC), the executive wing of the European Union, has also decided to ban TikTok and asked its staff to remove the app from their personal phones and tablets that are part of its mobile device service, according to a report from Politico.
The Commission made this decision to better protect itself against cybersecurity threats and actions that may be exploited for cyber-attacks against its corporate environment. The ban will take effect on March 15, and those who fail to comply will lose access to corporate apps, including the EC’s email service and Skype for Business. Reports also suggest that the European Union Council and Parliament may follow suit.
Tightening the grip on TikTok
This decision by the European Commission to ban TikTok mirrors the moves made in the US, where the House of Representatives and at least 20 states have banned the app on government devices due to concerns about the Chinese government’s alleged involvement in accessing user data and other security issues. However, in an effort to ease tensions between lawmakers and TikTok, CEO Shou Zi Chew will appear before the US Congress on March 23 to answer questions about US user safety and security.
Despite the efforts of governments worldwide to hold TikTok accountable for its data privacy practices, the company denies any wrongdoing and argues that the ban is “based on fundamental misconceptions.” TikTok has requested a meeting with the EC to address concerns and explain how they protect user data.
“We’re continuing to enhance our approach to data security, including by establishing three data centres in Europe to store user data locally, further reducing employee access to data, and minimizing data flows outside of Europe,” said a TikTok spokesperson.