Due to security concerns and the app’s ties to the Chinese government, Canada has banned TikTok, a well-known short-form video app owned by the Chinese company ByteDance Ltd. On March 15, the ban is scheduled to go into effect.
The change is necessary, according to Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, because of the level of security concerns surrounding the app. This comes after similar actions by the US government, which forbade the use of the app by federal employees late last year, and by a number of American universities, which forbade the use of the app on their networks.
TikTok has come under fire for its use of user data and connections to the Chinese government. The company maintains that a Chinese version of the app is distinct from the one used in the rest of the world and that Chinese government officials do not have access to user data. However, the business acknowledged last year that some employees in China have access to European users’ data.
Concerned about user data and whether TikTok obtains “valid and meaningful” consent from users when collecting personal information, Canadian privacy regulators are also looking into the platform. According to a recent study by researchers at the Social Media Lab at Toronto Metropolitan University, about 25% of Canadian adults use the app.
The government “is committed to keeping government information secure,” according to a statement from Mona Fortier, president of Canada’s Treasury Board. This week, the app will be taken off of other devices, including those provided by the government, and future downloads will be prohibited.
“TikTok’s data collection methods on a mobile device provide significant access to the contents of the phone,” Ms. Fortier said. Although there are risks associated with using this application, there is currently no proof that sensitive government data has been compromised.
The ban was implemented “without citing any specific security concerns about TikTok or contacting us to discuss any concern prior to making this decision,” according to TikTok in response. A company representative further stated that TikTok is constantly willing to meet with representatives of the public to discuss how the app safeguards the safety and security of Canadians.