Use of TikTok banned on Irish government devices due to cybersecurity concerns

Use of TikTok banned on Irish government devices due to cybersecurity concerns

Use of TikTok banned on Irish government devices due to cybersecurity concerns

The state body tasked with advising the Irish government on cybersecurity recommended on Friday that staff in state departments and agencies should not use the Chinese-owned TikTok video app on official devices.

A number of Western countries, including Britain, the United States and other European Union member states, have banned TikTok over security concerns. The EU’s two biggest political institutions also banned the app last month.

TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, is under intense scrutiny from governments and regulators amid fears the Chinese government could use its app to harvest user data or advance its interests. .

The head of Ireland’s National Cyber ​​​​Security Center said TikTok was “very top of the line, if not the top of the line in terms of the amount of user data it collects” and that this created a risk, given the nature of China’s intelligence gathering law. .

“The problem here is not what we know is happening. Rather the problem here is what we cannot rule out,” NCSC director Richard Browne told national broadcaster RTE.

“Once the risk exists in this type of context, it puts us in a situation where the logical argument is that we take a reasonable risk-based approach and ensure that government data cannot be compromised. in this way.”

The NCSC said there was no reason politicians could not use the app on their private devices and that it could be used on official devices in exceptional cases where there is a commercial need. , as by a press office.

TikTok runs a number of its European operations from Dublin, including privacy and data protection. It announced last month that it would open a second data center in Ireland and reduce data transfer outside the EU.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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