France to ban Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok
25 March, 2023 | Vaishali Sharma
As privacy and cybersecurity concerns grow, a growing number of countries in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific have banned the popular video-sharing app TikTok from government devices, with F...
As privacy and cybersecurity concerns grow, a growing number of countries in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific have banned the popular video-sharing app TikTok from government devices, with France likely to be the latest, according to France 24.
French Civil Service Minister Stanislas Guerini announced on Friday that the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok would be banned on civil servants’ work phones.
“In order to guarantee the cybersecurity of our administrations and civil servants, the government has decided to ban recreational applications such as TikTok on the professional phones of civil servants,” he tweeted.
A string of governments and institutions in the West have banned TikTok in recent weeks, including the UK parliament, the Dutch and Belgian administrations and the New Zealand parliament.
India too imposed a nationwide ban on TikTok and dozens of other Chinese apps, including the messaging app WeChat, in 2020 over privacy and security concerns.
Concerns have mounted globally about the potential for the Chinese government to access users’ location and contact data through ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company, reported France24.
Shou Zi Chew, the company’s CEO, was grilled by US lawmakers on Thursday, in a rare bipartisan rebuke that reflected a growing trend to ban the app from the US due to its ties to China and handling of user data.
The Chinese Communist Party is viewed as America’s most serious national security threat by both Democrats and Republicans. They understand that the CCP is in it for the long haul, with the goal of achieving global dominance. Beijing employs a four-pronged strategy of military, economic, diplomatic, and cultural aggression, with technology at its core. TikTok is included.
TikTok’s CEO stated that its Chinese parent company can access user data and that staff in China currently have access to user information.
In testimony before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, CEO Shou Zi Chew struggled to convince lawmakers that the massively popular social video app poses no risk to its 150 million users and does not share user data with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Furthermore, TikTok is bound by China’s National Intelligence Law, which requires every Chinese citizen and company to hand over all data to the Chinese Communist Party upon request and to perform surveillance activities on the CCP’s behalf.
TikTok, like many other social media platforms, collects personal information from users, such as phone numbers, email addresses, contacts, and Wi-Fi networks.
ByteDance has stated that it does not share information with the Chinese government; however, US officials argue that Chinese law requires the Beijing-based company to make the app’s data available to the CCP.
The China-based app, which has more than 150 million US users each month, has come under increasing scrutiny from government officials, who are concerned that user data could fall into the hands of the Chinese government and that the app could be used to spread misinformation by China.
CEO Shou Zi Chew struggled to reassure lawmakers that the massively popular social video app does not pose a risk to the US during testimony before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
He admitted that TikTok had previously collected location data on US users and stated that some historical data is still stored in servers that engineers from ByteDance, its parent company based in China, could access, according to CBS News.
TikTok is already prohibited on federal government devices, including military devices, and an increasing number of states have adopted it on state government devices. Several bills have been introduced in Congress that would give the administration the authority to ban TikTok across the country.
The Biden administration wishes for ByteDance to exit the short-form video platform.