Canada bans TikTok from government devices over alleged China threat
Government devices will no longer be allowed to access the app, however, the Canadian public remains free to chose any social media platform of their preference.
An email sent to Global Affairs Canada (GAC) employees said on Monday that Canada will prohibit the use of the social media application TikTok from all mobile devices which are the property of the federal government, citing national security reseasons.
"As of February 28, the TikTok app will be automatically removed and blocked from use on all government-issued mobile devices. This decision was made by the Chief Information Officer of Canada to ensure the security and protection of government information systems and networks. A review of the mobile application behavior in relation to Policy on Service and Digital found that TikTok’s data collection methods may leave users vulnerable to cyber attacks," the directive said.
The email stated that the directive was approved and signed by Assistant Deputy Minister Stephane Levesque, Chief Security Officer Sebastien Beaulieu, and Chief Information Officer Jean-Paul Donoghue.
The email further said that the federal government will continue to keep watch on the situation and cooperate with "partners" to safeguard the networks' safety.
Treasury Board Secretary Mona Fortier said in a statement that the reason behind such a decision was to prevent government information from being compromised.
"While the risks of using this application are clear, we have no evidence at this point that government information has been compromised," Fortier said.
The statement added that the Canadian public remains free to choose any social media platform of their preference.
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In May 2022, Canada announced it will prohibit two of China's largest telecom equipment manufacturers from working on its 5G phone networks.
The country's Industry Minister said that the restrictions against Huawei and ZTE are intended to improve Canada's mobile internet services and "protect the safety and security of Canadians."
On November 8, 2022, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused Beijing of playing "aggressive games" with "democracies" and of targeting Canadian institutions.
Canadian intelligence claims that it identified a "clandestine network" of candidates backed by Beijing at recent elections. According to officials speaking to Trudeau, China supported 11 candidates in the 2019 federal elections.
On December 26, 2022, Justin Trudeau said that Western countries must form a united front against China to prevent it from “cleverly playing us off each other in an open market,” and that China has been able to use Western countries’ competitiveness against them.