Canada Bans TikTok on Government-Issued Devices Due to Security Concerns
Canada has banned the use of TikTok on government-issued devices due to security concerns, following a review by the country's chief information officer. The app is owned by Chinese company ByteDance and has faced restrictions in other countries over concerns about personal information and its ties to the Chinese government. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that "this may be the first step, this may be the only step we need to take" in regard to the ban. A TikTok spokesperson expressed disappointment with the decision, and Canadian privacy regulators are investigating the app over concerns about user data.
by Ana Machado
Starting on Tuesday, Canada will ban the use of the video-sharing app TikTok on all government-issued devices, following a review by the country’s chief information officer. According to a government spokesperson, the app “presents an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security.” This move comes after the European Commission announced a similar ban a few days earlier.
Security concerns have been raised over TikTok’s ties to the Chinese government and its handling of personal information. The app, which is owned by Chinese firm ByteDance Ltd., has faced bans and restrictions in several other countries, including the United States, India, and some Asian countries.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that there is enough concern about security around the app to require the change, adding that “this may be the first step, this may be the only step we need to take.” TikTok has been criticized for its use of personal information, and the company has insisted that Chinese government officials do not have access to user data. However, last year, the company admitted that some staff in China could access the data of European users.
A TikTok spokesperson expressed disappointment with Canada’s decision, stating that the company was not contacted to discuss any concerns prior to the ban. The spokesperson added that the company is “always available to meet with our government officials to discuss how we protect the privacy and security of Canadians,” and that “singling out TikTok in this way does nothing to achieve that shared goal.”
According to a recent survey by researchers at the Social Media Lab at Toronto Metropolitan University, about a quarter of Canadian adults use TikTok. Canadian privacy regulators are also investigating the app over concerns about user data and whether the company obtains “valid and meaningful” consent from users when collecting personal information.
The app will be removed from government-issued phones this week and other devices, and blocked from downloads in the future. Mona Fortier, the president of Canada’s Treasury Board, said in a statement that the government “is committed to keeping government information secure.” She added that “on a mobile device, TikTok’s data collection methods provide considerable access to the contents of the phone,” and while there is no evidence at this point that government information has been compromised, the risks of using the application are clear.
In the United States, federal employees were banned from using TikTok late last year, and the White House recently gave government agencies 30 days to remove the app from their systems. A number of American universities have also banned the app from being used on their networks.
Tik Tok Creation
TikTok, the social media app known for its short-form videos and popular dance challenges, was first launched in China in September 2016 under the name Douyin. The app was created by Chinese tech company ByteDance, which was founded by Zhang Yiming in 2012.
Initially, Douyin was only available in China, but it quickly became a hit with users, amassing over 100 million users in just one year. In September 2017, ByteDance decided to launch the app in other countries under the name TikTok.
TikTok’s success outside of China was immediate. In just two years, the app had been downloaded over 1 billion times worldwide, making it one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. The app’s unique algorithm, which serves up personalized content to users based on their viewing habits, quickly became a hit with younger audiences.
The success of TikTok can be attributed to several factors. One is the app’s focus on short-form videos, which are often entertaining, funny, and easy to consume. Another is the app’s emphasis on user-generated content, which has allowed users to showcase their creativity and personalities. Finally, TikTok’s algorithm, which learns from user behavior and serves up personalized content, has kept users engaged and coming back for more.
Despite its popularity, TikTok has faced some challenges over the years. In 2018, the app was briefly banned in Indonesia for “negative content.” In 2019, the app faced scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers over concerns about user privacy and its ties to the Chinese government. In response, TikTok has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots, hiring American executives and moving its data centers to the United States.
Despite these challenges, TikTok has continued to grow and evolve. The app has become a platform for activism, with users using their videos to raise awareness about social and political issues. TikTok has also become a popular destination for advertisers, who are drawn to the app’s large and engaged user base.
Overall, the creation of TikTok has changed the social media landscape, introducing a new type of content and a new way of consuming it. The app has become a cultural phenomenon, inspiring countless memes, dance challenges, and trends. And with its continued growth and popularity, it seems that TikTok will continue to be a major player in the social media world for years to come.
About the author / Ana Machado
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