Valérian Mazataud Le Devoir The Nova Scotian government explains that TikTok's data collection methods provide substantial access to data on mobile devices, making users “vulnerable to surveillance”.
Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador have in turn banned the TikTok app from government-issued devices, adding to a growing list of jurisdictions that have imposed similar measures against the Chinese-owned social network.
The short-video sharing platform has come under increased scrutiny in Canada and around the world recently, as the Chinese government has a stake in its owner, ByteDance. Chinese laws also allow the state to demand access to user data.
In the Prairie province, the ban applies to all government departments, Crown corporations and agencies, as well as all MPs of the ruling Saskatchewan Party. The ban was issued pending the results of a threat assessment, conducted jointly by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and its counterparts in Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia. This investigation was announced last week.
The Chief Information Officer of Canada, Treasury Board, conducted an investigation into TikTok and determined that this video-sharing platform, which Chinese-owned, posed an “unacceptable” level of privacy and security risk.
This finding prompted the federal government and the House of Commons to ban the app across all state devices earlier this week, followed soon after by a similar move from Quebec.
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The United States announced on Monday that all government agencies have 30 days to remove TikTok from federal devices and systems, and several other countries have since followed suit, including India, Taiwan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, as well as the European Union.
“Vulnerable to Surveillance”
In Nova Scotia, the provincial government released a statement stating that TikTok's data collection methods provide substantial access to data on mobile devices, making users “vulnerable to surveillance”.
Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services Minister Colton LeBlanc argued that the TikTok app does not need to be installed on government devices.
“There is also concerns about the legal regime that governs the information collected, LeBlanc added. There is no evidence, at this time, that foreign actors have compromised government information.
Newfoundland and Labrador added Wednesday that its decision stemmed from several concerns, including TikTok's data collection methods, which provide the app with “near full access” to content. of the phone on which it is used.
Officials in Ontario have confirmed that they are considering imposing a similar ban.
The Chinese company that owns TikTok has long supported that it does not share data with the Chinese government and that its data is not stored in China. It also refuted accusations that it collects more user data than other social media outlets.