European Commission orders staff to remove TikTok from work devices

The European Commission (EC) has issued a directive requesting all EC workers to remove TikTok from their company devices. The suspension additionally extends to staff’ private devices the place they’re used for work functions.

In an announcement issued today, the fee mentioned that the transfer was made on safety grounds, whereas suggesting that rival social networks have been additionally on its radar. “This measure goals to shield the Commission in opposition to cybersecurity threats and actions which can be exploited for cyber-attacks in opposition to the company surroundings of the Commission,” it wrote. “The safety developments of different social media platforms may also be saved underneath fixed assessment.”

Knowledge considerations

The European Union’s (EU) govt arm is the most recent in a line of public entities to ban TikTok, a phenomenally widespread social video app developed by Chinese language tech agency ByteDance. With greater than 1 billion customers globally, TikTok has supplanted YouTube amongst youngsters and teenagers particularly, main the U.Ok. Parliament to open its personal TikTok account final yr. This was quickly shuttered after politicians raised considerations round knowledge doubtlessly being handed by ByteDance to the Chinese language authorities.

Elsewhere, the U.S. Home of Representatives just lately ordered its personal staff to delete TikTok from official work devices, whereas some universities have voluntarily banned the app from campus Wi-Fi networks after state governors issued govt orders to ban the app’s use in native companies.

In the meantime, India banned TikTok — amongst dozens of different China-developed apps — in its entirety again in 2020.

Whereas there may be little proof to counsel that TikTok will probably be banned nationally within the U.S. or in any European market any time quickly, the social community has fallen underneath growing scrutiny over knowledge security, disinformation, and its compliance (or not) with Europe’s upcoming Digital Companies Act (DSA), guidelines designed to enhance accountability and transparency amongst on-line platforms.

In response, TikTok has gone on a major PR charm offensive, together with infrastructure investments that can see it open its first native datacenters for its European customers’ knowledge — the primary of those was scheduled to open final yr, however has been delayed to a while in 2023. The corporate additionally just lately introduced plans for a further two datacenters within the area.

In response to at this time’s announcement, a TikTok spokesperson mentioned that the corporate was “disenchanted” with the EC’s resolution, including that they believed it was “misguided and primarily based on elementary misconceptions.”

“We’ve contacted the Commission to set the file straight and clarify how we shield the info of the 125 million individuals throughout the EU who come to TikTok each month,” the spokesperson mentioned. “We’re persevering with to improve our strategy to knowledge safety, together with by establishing three knowledge centres in Europe to retailer person knowledge domestically; additional decreasing worker entry to knowledge; and minimising knowledge flows outdoors of Europe.”

Nevertheless, with the EC’s 30,000-plus headcount now banned from utilizing TikTok on official devices, it’s greater than conceivable that such bans will permeate via to constituent EU nations too. Certainly, public our bodies within the Netherlands were recently advised to steer clear of TikTok, stopping wanting an official mandate. And again in December, French President Emmanuel Macron slammed TikTok over alleged content material censoring and its opposed psychological affect on younger individuals.

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