State authorities and private companies in the Czech Republic prohibit workers from using TikTok

State authorities and private companies in the Czech Republic prohibit workers from using TikTok

State and private companies in the Czech Republic prohibit employees from using ;thanks to TikTok

TikTok mobile application. Illustrative photo.

Prague – State authorities and businesses as well as private companies in the Czech Republic prohibit their employees from using the Chinese application TikTok on work computers and phones for security reasons. The ban often also applies to personal devices if employees use them for work. This follows from a ČTK survey among authorities and companies. Only some state institutions had their own account on the TikTok social network, such as the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic, which has already canceled its account. The National Office for Cyber ​​and Information Security (NÚKIB) issued a warning last week against the use of TikTok on devices with access to important information systems. According to NÚKIB, the application represents a security threat.

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The government set up an account on TikTok during the covid-19 epidemic, when Andrej Babiš (ANO) was prime minister. Among other things, she wanted to refute misinformation about vaccination against the coronavirus on this network. “We canceled the government office's TikTok, which was set up during the covid era and which we were not using now anyway. And all employees who had access to it uninstalled the application,” government spokesman Václav Smolka told ČTK. Employees of the office are also generally prohibited from installing applications unrelated to the performance of their work on devices entrusted by the Straka Academy. “After NÚKIB issued the warning, the employees were especially alerted to this threat,” added Smolka.

Based on the NÚKIB warning, the Senate Office issued a warning to members of the Senate, its employees and external workers, in which it prohibited the use of the TikTok application on all devices that they use for work purposes and have access to the internal system. It also introduced technical measures that limit the use of the TikTok application from within the Senate Office, Senate Press Secretary Lada Faldynová told ČTK.

Ministries also proceed in the same way. “Based on the warning issued by NÚKIB, the Ministry of the Environment has prohibited its employees from using TikTok services in the ministry's network – on work computers, laptops, tablets and mobile devices. At the same time, it is actively trying to block the use of the TikTok service,” ministry spokeswoman Lucie Ješátková told ČTK. According to her, the office also plans to check compliance with the ban. TikTok is also rejected by other authorities. “The official phones of the Ministry of Justice can only have applications that are necessary for the performance of work activities, which we do not consider the TikTok application to be,” the office said.

Government authorities forbid the installation of TikTok even on private devices if employees use them for work purposes. This is how the Ministry of Agriculture, for example, proceeds, said Vojtěch Bílý, the spokesperson of the office. Employees of the Ministry of Culture are also not allowed to install and use TikTok on any devices that allow access to the office's information systems, Petra Hrůšová from the ministry's press department told ČTK.

In addition to TikTok, the Ministry of Defense also banned the installation of the Chinese application WeChat. “Employees of the Ministry of Defense were informed about the ban through e-mails distributed within the information systems and through training,” said office spokeswoman Simona Cigánková.

The ban on TikTok also applies in institutions under ministries. For example, the State Agricultural Intervention Fund has ordered employees to remove TikTok from all work devices and personal phones that can be used to connect to the fund's infrastructure, said Luďka Raimondová, director of the fund's communications department. The Ministry of Health, according to office spokesman Ondřej Jakob, banned the use of the application on devices owned by the Ministry and the Institute of Health Information and Statistics. “TikTok must be immediately uninstalled from mobile phones by employees,” he said. At the same time, the Ministry warned against the application via the website of the National Center for Electronic Health.

The Ministry of Finance has also prepared systemic measures to prevent the use of TikTok on official devices. However, the office did not publish the specific form of the measure. The Ministry of Health also stated that in the coming days it will technically prevent the communication of official devices with TikTok.

Even employees of the semi-state energy company ČEZ are not allowed to have TikTok on their work devices, said company spokesman Roman Gazdík. Not even the private energy company innogy uses TikTok. “Our internal recommendation is not to install this application on devices that have access to company data,” said company spokesperson Pavel Grochál.

Also, the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, following a warning from NÚKIB, prohibited employees of the academy office and the academic council from installing and using TikTok on devices for work purposes. The director of the Office of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Leoš Horníček, told ČTK that he asked employees to uninstall TikTok from their devices and also called on the directors of all the academy's workplaces to consider taking appropriate measures.

The largest trade union headquarters in the Czech Republic, the Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions , according to foreman Josef Středula, she preferred not to use TikTok even in view of previous security warnings. “We never introduced him. We didn't think it was safe,” Středula said.

Československá obchodní banka (ČSOB), for example, generally does not support employees' access to social networks, unless it is related to their work. In addition, access to TikTok from work computers has been prohibited for a long time without exception, and based on NÚKIB's warning, it is taking further steps, said ČSOB spokesman Patrik Madle. Even Unilever, one of the largest distributors of cosmetic and food products in the Czech Republic, does not recommend using TikTok on work phones or laptops.

Vodafone operator intends to warn employees about the risks of the TikTok application. “We advise them not to use it. Installation of the application will be prohibited for the area of ​​critical information infrastructure,” said ČTK spokesman Ondřej Luštinec. “We take NÚKIB's warning seriously, I have informed the employees about the current development of the situation,” added T-Mobil spokeswoman Patricie Šedivá.

Perhaps the company Sloneek, which deals with HR systems, will not stop using TikTok just yet. According to the co-founder of the company, Milan Rataj, he uses the application to reach younger people, and without TikTok, the HR staff of many companies would lose contact with the youngest generation. However, according to him, the company does not underestimate NÚKIB's warning.

According to the Association of Communication Agencies, TikTok, like the entire digital world, hides great potential, but also a threat in the field of data security. “We recommend our members and all contractors to evaluate the level of threats associated with the use of the TikTok platform as a communication channel through a risk analysis. Above all, it is advisable to consider the use of technology and think about what is shared through the application,” said the director of the association Kateřina Hrubešová.